January 13, 2010


1. Monday, lunch hour. I am running my usual route along the river. I am a little over a mile in when a cyclist pedals up slowly from behind. "You've got a great ass on you," he says quietly, and keeps going. I am torn between wanting to yell "Stuff it, creep!" and being flattered. With an instant to decide, I yell back, "Hey, thanks!"

Then to up his creepiness factor, he doubles back. He lingers for a good long while ahead of me until I am forced to run past him again, and they he stays behind me for awhile. I mean, really, buddy? Really? I begin calculating what I'll do in the event that he really won't leave me alone. It's three weeks since my last run, so I'm kind of just blowing the dust out; at any rate, regardless of my fitness level, I can't outrun a cyclist. Then again, it's mid-afternoon in a relatively public spot on the river.

He approaches again from behind.
"Seriously, I could watch you all day," he says.
"Then it's a shame for you that I can't run all day," I respond. He asks how far I am running; I say 3 1/2 miles; I am pleasant but don't make eye contact. "That's far," he says. "I couldn't do that."

He pauses. "Well, keep it up, it's working for you," he throws in, and then bikes off for good.

Final tally: 40% awesome, 60% creepy.

2. Tuesday night, feeding horses. The Bobcat we usually use to haul hay is inexplicably full of manure; I find this out when, groping in the pitch-dark hay barn, I stick my hand wrist-deep into it. Half a bale of alfalfa is down; the grass hay is all over the place. The hay knife, which is white and easy to spot in the dark, is missing; in groping around on the ledge I nearly hack a chunk of my finger off with another knife that happens to be floating around.

Without the Bobcat I'm forced to load hay into the wheelbarrow, which can only accomodate 8-10 flakes of hay at a time: enough to feed about 6 horses. It is a slow process. When I'm finished with the upper barn, I begin to work on loading the wheelbarrow for the lower barn when I realize I've used up the whole bale of alfalfa, and there are still 10 horses to feed. The most accessible bale is 10 feet up. No stepladder. I begin to tap into my arsenal of swear words. I rummage around until I find the hay hooks, and then empty a nearby feed bucket and turn it face down on the ground near the stacked bales. A feed bucket is less than two feet tall, so I still have to reach overhead to pull down the bale. I can't get a good angle because I'm terrified to stand in front of them, lest they crash down on me and pin me. Finally I settle on standing at the front of the stack and attempting to haul the top bale off laterally. I struggle to get any purchase with the hay hook -- I'm reaching too far up to be able to swing with any gusto -- and when I finally do and begin to pull, four of the bales sway.

I use every swear word I can think of.

Figuring that there's no other option, I grunt and heave and knock a bunch of bales to the floor. They're scattered everywhere and have to be moved. Have you ever seen a 120-pound girl move a 100 pound hay bale? In the dark? In the mud? When she's pissed off? I'm sorry for you if you haven't. I made up expletives just for that circumstance.

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