With the close of wheat harvest 2017, I've been getting a lot of questions about whether I've been helping drive grain cart or semi or any of the other machinery. While most of the inquiries I assume are not serious in nature (most everyone knows I moved to the farm from suburbia 6 months ago) but all the same I think I need to set the record straight on my current track record.
A little under a year ago, while I was visiting Marc and the farm, some friends, Marc, and I decided to go four-wheeling. Marc and I rode in the Gator with Marc's dog, Bill in the back, while our friends Chris and Sarrong took the other two four-wheelers.
Naturally, I wanted to drive, and my obliging boyfriend gave me the keys and some loose instructions on the brake and the gas and blah blah blah. Off we went!
At first things were going well, I was a little hesitant and took my time; staying on the little dirt paths left by trucks and four-wheelers who had traversed before me.
"I'm basically a pro." I thought and simultaneously stomped on the gas pedal a little harder. Nothing terrible happened so I decided to off-road a little bit. At first, Marc helped direct me which way to go so as to avoid felled trees and the river, but as we zipped around and my confidence went up, he stopped paying attention.
It was so exhilarating to be driving around with my long-distance boyfriend, hair flying in the wind (which I always imagine looks like perfect Pocahontas hair), and the smell of exhaust burning into our clothes and hair. I completely got wrapped up in the romance and splendor of it all that I stopped paying attention too...
All at once my heart skipped a beat, not at the romance of the situation, at the impending doom I had placed our little party in the Gator in. We were heading down a hill a little too fast and a little too lop-sided. It felt like I'd roll the Gator if I stopped, so I eased off the gas but kept driving. While I'm trying to process what to do with my limited experience - Marc starts yelling "Stop. Stoppp. STOP!" at me. What he was saying didn't really sink in until I looked over and saw my beaux leap from the passenger seat out into the chest-high grass. Then I stopped.
My eyes swept from Marc, to Bill, and then paused as I passed back by Marc's seat. A fairly large stick, attached to a felled tree, had impaled the passenger seat and was poking right where Marc's farming tush had seconds before been resting.
I couldn't say anything. I turned the Gator off and just sat there, hands covering my mouth and nose. Marc didn't say anything either. But we were silent for two different reasons. I was shocked, scared, and embarrassed, while Marc was frustrated and in pain. Even though the biggest butt-impaling stick had missed him, several other smaller sticks had made minor marks in his chest and leg.
As I sat there petrified that I'd almost killed my boyfriend and his dog, seconds felt like hours.
"Are you okay?" Marc finally said a few seconds later, "Here come here." He leaned in over the seat and gave me a kiss. "It's okay, we'll replace the seat." ...
What a guy.
Thankfully, now we look back on that story and laugh and see it as a moment we were able to see how we reacted to accidents. Marc also still has a little mark on his chest where I almost shish kabobed him, and he uses it mercilessly to get his way in little arguments.
So that, in a nutshell, is why I am not allowed to operate farm machinery. I ride along and entertain instead... at least till the Gator memory wears off. ;)