Yesterday was my last day of detasseling and let's just say I should have made a detasseling diary everyday to share a story with you. But I was tired and my brain was done thinking by the end of the day so I didn't. But let's see what I can remember.
I went with others to driving school and the first day learned with about 5 minutes practice how to drive a detasseling machine. So basically it's more on the job training. But got paid for it.
Day 1: I was with another new driver and also someone who had never detasseled before so I was not sure of what the kids were even pulling. We had a short tempered, regular driver with us. The other guy Alan was up first to drive and Zach was helping. Zach didn't have patience with the new kids or Alan and did a lot of yelling in a not nice way. We switched and it's my turn to drive, I told Zach that he better not be yelling at me because all of this is new to me. Let's just say my tone and matter of fact attitude I had let him know I was not going to be treated like an idiot like he treated Alan and he was pleasant with me the whole day. I told Darryl about what a jerk he was in general, and that I let him know not to mess with me. So for me my day went well for Alan and some of the other new kids not so much. Not a very nice welcome to detasseling day 1.
Day 2: One of the kids on our machine from the previous day didn't show up. This was also this kids first day and Zach did a lot of yelling at him and eventually had him go on another machine because he didn't want to deal with him. Basically the kid is a VERY good kid he just kept missing tassels but everyone else did as well, I mean it was the first day and we were all just learning. Anyway I saw this kid later and was encouraging him and telling him that Zach in general is a big jerk and think he knows everything and that this kid was doing a good job and not to let what Zach said or did bother him because he is a jerk. Right before I was going to bed that night the doorbell rings, it was this kid and his mom and they came to say thank you to me for encouraging him and letting him know that he was doing good. They even brought me flowers, Very Sweet!
Day 3: I believe with all the rain I got my machine stuck twice. Once I was able to get it out and the next time needed help because I stuck in a muddy waterway :( I can't remember if anything else happened.
Day 4: Now I have been driving by myself since day 3 I think, and so I was still learning on when you finish a field where do I back up to restart and come down. Before I would basically just drive down to the end and then stop the machine climb down and have Trevor stand in the the row I needed to drive back in. So on this day there were a few other tractors and we were all finishing up around the same time. They waited for me before they could move their tractors so no one hits anyone else. Well I stop my machine and start to climb down and Joey a 16 year old kid whose dad has helped Rawley for 20+ years yells loudly "Oh My Go*" , and I yell back "Shut-Up"!! So I climbed down, set Trevor to my next spot and climb back up, I think it took a whole minute. We stop for water break as well as did Joey. So I walk over to Joey and tell him to never yell at me again like that, that I'm still learning and I was making sure I had the right spot and if he has a problem with it then to bad . This was only the beginning of my problems with this punk teen that I've known since he was little. His show off job was not impressing me!! Another driver Tina explained to me how the rows of corn were planted so that way I didn't have to have Trevor stand there for me. That had never been explained before and then from then on I was able to count the different rows and never needed Trevor to stand for me again.
The next problem I had with Joey was one day this week Rawley told kids to go with the drivers they had yesterday and get on a machine. I was towards the back and so kept on walking down until I found an empty tractor. My kids get on and I start to climb up, only to hear Joey saying hey that's my machine. I say no it's not it was open and I took it. He freaks out and says that it is his machine and that he is driving it. Joey is similar to Zach and can't seem to talk to anyone in a normal voice but has to project his testosterone by being loud in voice. I say fine and tell my crew to come with me we are going to find another tractor. He says hey you are taking all the kids. I say yes they want to ride with me not with you. Which is true! I had a posse of 7 kids that would find me everyday and stand right beside me so they didn't have to ride with any other drivers :) Then the last problem today. We were all finished and on the bus and Joey was giving Blow Pops to kids on his crew. He was holding them somewhat out and a girl took one from him. He tells her a few times give it back or I'll break your wrist. I'm the next seat back watching this all unfold. He keeps trying to get it back and she is messing with him and doesn't give it to him.
I see him grab her wrist and twist a little and so I join in and tell him if he hurts her or leaves a bruise I will call the cops and he will be taken away to juvenile detention. He then proceeds to argue with me that she would go as well for stealing his sucker and I tell him no she would not but he would for leaving marks. He continues to argue with me (total disrespect) and I say fine call Ricky Scott (our police chief) when you get home and ask him. He did let go of the girls wrist as soon as I said something and she did give him his 10 cent sucker back. But he has been very disrespectful to me, in any interaction that we have had. So I'm done with Joey.
Also throughout the weeks I've told kids to watch their mouths because their is constant swearing on the buses. One day our tractor got back later and I had to sit towards the back of the bus and had to tell a 14 year boy to change the subject of this gross sexual story he was telling. I would say about 40% of the kids were good kids the others I was dumbfounded by their mouths which was full of swearing and talking about sex and most were 14 years old. I think Lisbon School needs to have some etiquette classes mandatory for these kids. It was as bad as what I thought it would be. I'm sure it was like this on the Mt.Vernon bus as well, but I rode on the bus mostly of Lisbon kids.
Now the last day: I thought I would be detasseling and not driving but Rawley didn't have enough drivers show up so, I drove and we finished checking the last 2 smaller fields on Sunday.
All in all for me it went well. Some days it was so hot and the whole bus smelled like B.O. and other days you brought home a pound of mud on yourself. It was a quick way to make cash and the work itself is not hard. The hardest part for me was getting up early and working out in the fresh air for 6-9 hours a day. The Sun is a killer and I preferred it being overcast and even raining on me as opposed to it being sunny and 83. But I made the money I needed to send Trevor to camp, have money for NYC and to go to Alabama to see my parents this January or February. I worked a total of 12 days and Trevor a total of 10 days.
As for next year Rawley wants me to return and I might just depending on a lot of things. But my first year of detasseling/driving a tractor was a success!