Tuesday, May 17, 2011. The more observant readers of my blog will notice that there is a gap missing from Friday till now. I slipped behind with my blog and now I am just cutting my losses and starting from today…so there.
Today was a day of embarrassments. The whole factory was going full pelt today. I believe because of our slack start to the season the pack house is well behind on its work so we are making up for lost time. Everyone was rushing around trying to keep up with the unforgiving machine. “Do you ever feel like you’re being used?” Sebastian quipped as he passed me by as I thrust box after box into the ever hungry mouth of the belt. “Yes I do” I replied as I thought about the bonus and free holiday the best supervisor of the season receives. This last week as work has stabilized our happy view of this job has noticeable changed; the general atmosphere of the pack houses has shifted. No more the cheerful attitude, the wish for more work. Light complaints about how the rests in between work are well received but tend to soften one for the next day of work.
A smidgen of grimness has crept in; you can feel the deadening effect of working full time. The sound of the machines, closely packed people working side by side. It’s not quite as humorous as it used to be. But maybe that is unfair, I still look forward to work when I wake up in the morning, I am still enjoying my colleges and in fact the hard work has bought us closer together. I suppose it’s just that I am very aware that this is a job purely for money and that I am counting the days until I leave.
Back to the reasons why it was a day of embarrassments. First of all I had an awful case of flatulence. I had consumed two very big, possible low grade beef burgers the night before and I could feel the turmoil in my belly. I am afraid I let out a good few acrid farts in the morning and they were potent, lingersome( lingersome may not be a real word but it should be) and very apparent. Basically everyone knew I was farting. Thankfully Sebastian was in the same situation as I, although I don’t know what he had last night. We were both scurrying off behind the pallets of boxes to relieve our fumes every now and then when it was too much and just while Sebastian was sounding off behind a wall of boxes Raywen came round and engaged him in conversation “I had just done one and I could smell it so badly, she was right there she had to smell it as well, oh god” he said.
Along with my flatulence I was also afflicting my fellow workers in other ways. Work place pranks are spreading predictably. Hiding aprons, sticking things to people’s backs, rubbing the alcoholic hand wash in peoples limbs and one of my own inventions tying the pallet strings around peoples angles and attaching the other end to a box. Near lunch I was just in the middle of securing a line to Maria (an Argentinean girl) shoe, she had not noticed, I was crouched down knotting it up, and then I tied the other end to a wooden pallet. My work done I casually walked up to Maria and tapped her on the shoulder to make myself inconspicuous. It wasn’t Maria at all; she looked like her for behind. She was a new girl I had never seen before; she must have come to help the box liners as it was so fast.
I apologized and undid her shackles “ she saw you doing it as well, she asked me ‘what is this man doing?’ she was very surprised” Sebastian said laughing.
The next embarrassment was after work when Sarah and I were back in Te puke and shopping for vegetables. I was looking at how expensive the persimmons were and I walked over to Sarah who was talking to an Asian woman near the shallots. I walked up and stood beside them, watching them chat. The woman looked at me and said “oh I am sorry”, “don’t worry you can keep chatting” I said in a relaxed voice. I raised my hand to pat Sarah on the shoulder and then realized that the woman next to me wasn’t Sarah at all! The two women walked away quickly. She didn’t even look like Sarah from behind. I felt very silly indeed and I was looking forward to getting back home and safely behind locked doors before I did something else.