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August 18, 2010

Outdoor work

Today (which marks the third of four consecutive days I will spend spraying herbicide on or cutting invasive cattails) I considered the different perspectives of a person with the archetypal 9-to-5 desk job and someone with an "outdoor" job. I've had conversations with people who have "inside" jobs and I've wooed them with stories of getting paid to hike through nature preserves taking inventory of plants and signs of animals. The sort of work where I even find myself asking "How do I get paid for this?"  But what about the end of the day? when you go home and get to make decisions about what you will do with your time? Well, after 6 hours of wading though knee-deep muck, under full summer sun, carrying a plastic backpack with a gallon of poisonous liquid herbicide, wearing rubber gloves as if they were keeping the chemicals off my arms and face... I could go on and on... what I want to do is sit down and stare at a screen. TV or computer will do. When C asked if I wanted to go on a run last night I laughed at the thought. If work hadn't kicked my ass, what all would I have the energy to do? Granted, I'm oversimplifying this and there are days when I get to do some cool stuff. But some days are just brutal. Someone recently asked if I would trade in the sunburns for a button-up shirt... right now I'm thinking I could handle a button-up shirt if when I got home I had the energy and desire to hang outside and get sunburned on my own terms.

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