For the past several months, I’ve had the luxury of almost completely uninterrupted work from home (except for the 2 days of the week I’m required to be in an office. *Eye roll*). This means that, aside from the occasional deadline, my days usually consist of an early-ish wake up for farm chores such as feeding goats, dogs, chickens, and watering gardens, then a long breakfast. (Stop feeling sorry for me already, would you?! ) Due to the lack of actual human interaction, save for the occasional, virtual meeting, I’m generally shod in your standard farm attire which consists of yoga pants with holes the size of quarters scattered across inappropriate areas, well-stained t-shirts and crocs – the essentials.
Today was an obnoxious reminder that there’s still a whole, conventional world toiling away past the edge of my dusty driveway. This morning, instead of donning my beloved holey pants, stained shirt, and plastic shoes – I had to reach for a pair of heels and suit. My hand shook as I pulled the heels from their perch in my closet. I was barely able to button my jacket. More than ever before, pulling on this type of uniform feels artificial; I’m an imposter. I hung my shoulders and drove downtown for a conference at which compelling data were presented, then picked apart, then overanalyzed, then debated by a group of assorted PhDs. The room buzzed with lobbyists and politicians and folks passionately concerned about these issues. But me? I flipped through photos of the farm on my iPhone, checked the watch, tapped my heeled foot against the crisp linen hanging from the table. The best part of the day was, hands down, the free lunch. These kinds of events always mean you’re going to bump into old colleagues or classmates – the perfect networking opportunity!! (*Another eye roll*). In the recent past, I’ve donned the enthusiastic grin and slugged through enough witty banter to earn some sort of award. But today? My heart wasn’t in it. Someone I’ve worked with in the past and have known professionally for years asked “What’re you up to now?” of course referring to my job. So I blurted out what feels most natural which was, “I’m farming.” She giggled, playfully punched my shoulder and said, “You’re so funny! No. Really. What?”
What’s a girl to do in such a situation? So I did what any other red-blooded, baby-goat owning, bored to tears human would: cut out early, threw off the heels, and headed east. I accidentally stained my light suit with dirt while opening the gate coming home. Stepped in a fresh cow patty on the way back into the car. Grinned silly about the chicken poo I inadvertently smeared on the jacket after tossing out feed on my way towards the house.
Saturday afternoon, Jer drove the tractor to the front gate approximately four times throughout the day to see if an important delivery had arrived; the new espresso machine to replace the old one on the fritz. Tonight I helped him deposit the mineral block at the water tank by driving the tractor to the front pasture – one hand on the wheel, the other grasped firmly around my glass of cabernet. We make a fine pair the two of us; espresso and wine drinking farmers, caught somewhere between convention and old-fashioned grit. There’s probably some middle ground here, but I haven’t found it. It’s a strange pull to be between things in this way, but there are bills to pay and mouths to feed. After sending my mom a picture, she coined the term that –for now- accurately defines us.
“Oh la la!” She said, “Overall wearing, espresso drinking farmer! Very rural chic.” As usual Mom, I guess you’re right.