My training was six words long.
“Three buds, remove the outside ones.”
I waited patiently for further instructions, only to realize I was waiting in vain.
The work itself is easy enough. As easy a getting hired was. One short text message, and signing some paperwork the next day. $18NZ an hour to thin kiwifruit buds.
My compatriots in the field are an ecclectic mix. The stoners, who immedietly took me in upon hearing I’m from Colorado. The poor girl who has a nervous breakdown upon finding a spider. The German who had enough after three days that he left for good mid-shift. Two down to earth British lads. The migrant worker group from Thailand who comes during the season kitted out looking as though they are about to rob a bank in Chicago in February.
Together we stand in a field covered in kiwifruit buds and raise our arms for nine hours a day, becomimg sore in half the places Khia talks about in her one hit wonder from the early 2000s.
Center of the flower is the kiwifruit, and they will be ready to pick around March.
The workers and the managers don’t expect people to stay long. Someone who makes it a month is elevated to legend status.
Will I have a mental breakdown tomorrow?
Only time will tell.