Spring is here and for once my allergies aren’t completely destroying me. I worked as a landscaping laborer for a summer between school semesters and that blew my whole body into orbit. I was dropping allergy pills 4-5 times a day just so the dirt and dust wouldn’t completely obliterate me.
When I started there my first project was at a shopping center that I had grown up going to. It was a strip mall so all outdoor buildings and sidewalk facing. My best friend and I got the job together but never worked all that much on the same projects. We were under the impression that the gloves were provided, but no. So for the first few hours we had to dig our hands into soil to prep the flowers that we’re going to be planted.
We bought gloves at lunch so our hands wouldn’t dissolve in the truly abrasive soil, but my hands were ragged all summer. There was a certain meditation to the job, and looking back it was a lot of physical labor. When the monotony of desk work creeps into my subconscious I romanticize the past, but then I remember the grueling conditions. Colorado summers are fucking hot.
One day I worked about 14-15 hours. We drove an hour away to Longmont, did a job that needed to be rushed that took about 10 hours, worked in the dark, went to the cars, realized one of the batteries was dead, jerry-rigged a solution from another spare battery, then drove home. I didn’t get home until close to 11:00am and had to be awake by 5:00am the next morning because my dad would drive me to my friends house on his way to work, I would sleep on his couch for an hour, and then we’d be in the shop by 7:00am.
I still think about the guys I worked with. Jorge, my boss, was from Mexico, and wanted to be an architect, but had to survive somehow. At times I wish for nothing more than him and his family’s happiness. I hope that for all kind souls.
Love you mom, dad, sis, Marie, Amelia, kitty