Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Farm Girl I Am Not

My bold goal since I first started this blog: 100 entries in one year. I've never made the goal public, but here it is, online. Since I started this blog on June 28, 2010, I now have seven days to write eight blogs. I have the ideas, but can I find the time? Let's find out...

There are a few occupations that I would be extremely ill-suited for, according to my husband. One: A spy. This came up once when we were watching The Bourne Identity and I got pretty excited about the prospect of driving a Mini Cooper through the streets of Paris. But as Hubby pointed out, I am not skilled in combat, I don't remember names or faces well, and I don't speak any foreign languages. I can't sneak up on people (I always trip in dark rooms) and in fact have a heightened startle response (I shriek when people sneak up on me, or even say "hi" when my back it turned).

Two: Accountant. Um, I don't know how to balance the checkbook.

Three: Taxi driver. My fender benders have been many. And I have no (NO!) sense of direction, which is another count against me on the spy front. Drop me off in a foreign city, or even a residential neighborhood in, say, Tustin, California, and then just give me up for dead. My husband also swears that he will never allow me to rent a Vespa and drive around Italy, though it is one of my dearest wishes, because I would wreak havoc that would put Audrey Hepburn's scooter stint in Roman Holiday to shame.

These are sad facts for me, all but the accountant one. I really feel sometimes that I would be good at all kinds of things, but then I try them, and it turns out, that, no, not so much. I tell a dear friend of mine, often, that I have more chutzpah (guts) than skill. I'm up for all kinds of adventures, but I'm actually not a superhero, not cool, not smooth, not acrobatic. I'm actually a klutz. Last week I climbed my daughter's favorite tree and then got stuck in it.

One of my imagined identities is Farm Girl. I believe I could really be happy in a farmhouse in the rolling hills of California's Central Coast, keeping goats and chickens, riding my horse to local wineries to sell eggs and goat cheese -- in between stints at the sewing machine, of course. But on recent trips to the Central Coast I've discovered that a country girl I am not.

Bad enough that years ago I got chased by my long-romanticized chickens and was pecked mercilessly in the shins until Jeff rescued me. Two months ago, at a winery, I got my new cardigan sweater stuck in barbed wire, not once, but three times. Then I punctured my hand open on the same wire fence while trying to pet Rocket, the winery horse. I tried to play it cool, as the winemaker and my in-laws were watching, but it's extremely hard to play it cool when you are harpooned on a fence like a mackerel.

Later that day, I was bit in the arm by a five-day-old colt. He drew blood, through my jean jacket.

And then this past weekend, while exploring the wine country of Santa Ynez with Jeff, I began to fantasize about driving a tractor. "Wouldn't that be fun, just once?" I asked my husband. "Do you think anyone would ever let me drive their tractor?" The look Hubby gave me made it clear that if anyone was considering letting me on their farm machinery, he would have words with them first.

But then, just the next day, as we drove to a wine tasting room off the 246, there at the entrance was
an antique red tractor on display. On the way out, emboldened by sips of $50 Chardonnay, I decided to climb up on it. And Hubby, who is a rule follower himself but secretly loves the rebel in me, agreed to take a picture.

You know something, it's much, much harder to get up on an antique tractor than you would think. I'm glad there are no photos of that process. I also discovered that there's a reason no one drives a tractor in short white shorts, except in country music videos. I sliced my poor thigh in two places on the metal tractor seat on the way up. But I got my hands on the steering wheel, and I got my picture! Then I walked around the rest of the day with a giant Tinkerbell Band-aide on my leg.

Still, I have not learned my lesson. I want to pet horses and own chickens, though I am a little more wary of barbed wire. If I ever get a chance to drive a working tractor, I'll take it. I'm attached to my chutzpah (oh, won't it embarrass my daughters in their teenage years?), and in fact believe that it's true source is a willingness to hurt and humiliate myself. And who knows, maybe Jeff will change his mind about letting me rent that Vespa someday.


  1. I'm sure my dad would let you drive his tractor. My brother accidentally started it and drove it down the property and through our neighbor's fence when he was 4, and I'm pretty sure you couldn't do worse than that.

  2. wait a minute! i'm feeling all sorts of frustration because i'm sooo the same in my many "limitations" but have the same dreams too! no vespa like in roman holiday?? no central california farm?? if your dreams are going down the tubes, don't take mine with them. ;) plus audrey didn't even have gps.