Once, a few years ago, I was too scared to climb a ladder to finish painting my bathroom and the project remained unfinished for over a year. It was more complicated than that; a pretty real nervous breakdown and declining mental health played a role as well, but the fear of heights, or more acurately, fear of falling, was very real, which is why I find it so funny that I now force myself up and down a 9ft orchard ladder dozens of times a day. On hillsides, on tarps, on uneven ground. In the Ranier block of fancy yellow cherries with a red blush, the ground is covered with slippery white tarps that reflect light back up at the fruit to cover them with the coveted blush. Sometimes the third leg of the ladder abruptly slips out several feet and the hinged ladder pancakes out beneath you while you ride it to the ground like a surfboard. It’s the falling, not the heights- after a few times of this happening I perch nervously on top of my ladder and reach, tenuously, with one hand for the hanging clusters. I’m not a great cherry picker- it’s a combination of this fear and my bum wrists, ruined with carpal tunnel after years of cooking, horse farming and manual labour.
Everything seems to be slipping out from under me these days. #theneverendingcontract ended abruptly when most of my group decided to depart Hearst after weeks of lies and getting dicked around. I lay a sleepless night in my tent listening to the lunatic whine of mosquitoes outside and was already awake to turn off the four a.m alarm. The season had gone too well, really, four and one’s and direct deposit and regular food orders, with only the minor scandal of my second cook suffering a psychotic break and being fired. My mom called it best when she asked me during a recent phone call in which I completely crumbled and asked her to bring me home because I was scared I was cracking again. ‘That little fucker,’ she said, and nailed it in saying that the way his behavior resembled that of an emotionally abusive ex boyfriend had caused my own downward spiral. I don’t disagree. Even ten years on my behaviors are affected by this.
Baby Car made it all the way to B.C before giving up: three flat tires all replaced, the exhaust system wired up, mirrors replaced after an off roading adventure due to loose gravel and a mountain switchback. I’m broke and broker since having to fix her, and am anticipating my treeplant money (heaven forbid I have to fight for it for leaving early, I will raise unholy hell) and I’m just going to keep her on the road until I can pick up a $1000 Kijiji Ford Ranger for the winter, which is a more practical choice for wintering in B.C, anyway. I almost scrapped her and went home on a flight from Kamloops to be marooned in South western Ontario once again, but pulled myself together and trucked on.
I turned twenty seven yesterday (ugh!) and at my jungle prom birthday party was forced to throw a few good punches at a sonofabitch who threw a beer at me. If you have to get an official warning from a workplace for punching somebody, make sure you’re wearing a pink wig and look fly as fuck at the time.
The rugs slipping and I’m falling a bit. I dream fitfully of falling ladders and car accidents and terminal illnesses- the nights are no more restful than the days, but in a month we’ll be done here and I can find somewhere quiet to be alone and do absolutely nothing for awhile and hopefully this crazy sense of walking the knife edge of maintaining composure.