The California Diary: Back to my farm worker roots?

So, in between freelance work I do for magazines and such I actually need to find a job. I tried the local papers, but the way the newspaper business is going I wasn’t sure if I want to go back into that business, unless I’m hired as a sports writer.

So I’ve been looking into other jobs. The other day I was at Pebble Beach, taking in the greenest of greens on the golf course, the wildlife, the scenery (sigh). I told myself that if I could be a valet, a caddy or something that turns whatever service I render into any form of cash flow then I’d do it.

I’ve been to CostCo (you have no idea how many questions they ask just so you can collect stray shopping carts from the parking lot), The Home Depot, a liquor store (bad move, but they did have Miller Lite), Target (who doesn’t love to wear khakis?), and a bevy of other places.

But the better half told me, and she wasn’t kidding, that there was a spot on the radio she heard about one local farm advertising for workers. It pretty much went like this: “Go to Home Depot by 5 a.m. and we’ll pick you up.”

Now, I’m not poking fun at my fellow brownies, because I’m not. But the way that radio spot was described to me seemed to come across that way. And then I look at her and say, “Maybe I should give it a try.”

I wasn’t kidding, either. It’s not that the job market here is very bad, it’s competitive, sure, but I figured I’d probably be paid in cash, potentially daily, and I’d get a workout in.

Now, I know what you may be thinking. “Oscar, you’ve been a journalist for over 20 years. Those sensitive hands couldn’t handle the labor, and that back isn’t what it used to be.”

Well, you’d be right, but I’ve done this work before. I’ve done the sun-up to sun-down work in the Texas heat, eating bean tacos for breakfast lunch and dinner (yes, this is why my people are called beaners). I’ve stepped on a few snakes, and fallen asleep underneath my grandpa’s pick-up during a lunch break.

The tenured pickers out in the strawberry fields will poke fun of me relentlessly, I know. They’re going to chastise me for not being brown enough (my white friends have described me as either white, or a coconut), make fun of my slowness, and maybe bark at me a time or two. I’ve been through it, I can handle it. Half the time I don’t understand them, anyway. I don’t speak proper Spanish, I speak Tex-Mex.

In any case, I wouldn’t mind working in the air conditioned confines off a nice newsroom or office. But if I have to hit the crops, I will.


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