The never-ending interviews have continued to throw me off guard. I blog nowadays almost reluctantly because writing is not writing but rewriting, right? And I just don’t have the time right now to apply my craft professionally but feel compelled to connect with this rather large audience that is following this campaign in a very casual first draft fashion. Sorry. So it is with some reservation that I compose in a style that is not my best form and plan a more serious polished book in due course. There are just endless hilarious stories and hard to believe behavior of Canadians at large that a book is a must do project for me. If I survive.
Allow me to give you a taste of what has come my way of late. The other day, for example, the couple that sent me that lovely hand written letter turned up to the arranged screening interview. Within the first fifteen minutes I suggested to the applicant’s husband, the strong-armed plumber, that he should try his hand at cleaning the barn, to see if he was cut out for this kind of life.
“FUCK THAT AND FUCK YOU,” came the unexpected and brutally articulate reply. “We didn’t come up here to work dude. We came up to see if we were interested in your farm. “
I then promptly suggested perhaps we should go our separate ways.
“I want to pop you right now,” came the loud and serious response as his muscles rippled throughout his body.
Holy Animal Kingdom. I wasn’t even wearing my jock strap. Or my mouth guard. And he was serious. Deadly bent on giving me a good old fashion lickin, yes he was. Oh my.
It was more complicated than that. You see his wife had presented me with some home made bread. I was hungry. The loaf looked mighty tasty, even better than an apple pie. But without teeth I couldn’t chew the crust. And he might leave me for dead and taken the loaf away. Meanwhile his tiny wife, this her fourth husband and all, stood by my side pleading with me in tears to understand her “husband was the kindest nicest man you could ever meet. He would not hurt a fly.”
I reminded him there was an elaborate and expensive surveillance system on this farm recording the audio and visual movement and downloading this to an off site company who would call the police or the undertaker to deal with the mess. Fortunately, he took this into consideration. Then I offered to give him a tour, what the hell. What could I loose? My teeth? My life? Big deal.
Yes dear reader, this is the real deal. The real character of the yahoos I am meeting face to face applying with incredible letters, spellbinding jovial telephone conversations, agreeing to just about anything I throw at them in the screening process, Anything. Just to get their foot in the door and take over and somehow gain ownership of this property. I mean, my ad appears to have sent a loud war drum thundering the start of open season on Stephen’s Free Farm. Let’s go and lick em, eh?
The angry applicants were granted a polite tour but as they left I was told that only stupid people would take over and work for free without some legal status in their favor, to hell with apprenticing this project. I should think about making them a serious offer. I promised to think about it.
But hell, I got the loaf of bread and kept my teeth. I was happy.
Not so happy with the back and forth applicant whose husband was in the gambling profession. Now, after hours of reading their application and talk I understood from him that he would not in fact be leaving his job as an administrator in a casino, so let us end it there. I agreed. Then his wife called. I was wrong. So was her husband. “He IS leaving the job and following me, end of story. I will be there in a week by myself with my daughter.” Then the email cancelling because the husband was feeling uncomfortable about his wife and daughter visiting a man he didn’t know.
Take today’s applicant. This twenty something couple. She has a four-month-old baby. She was backpacking in Australia, met a soul mate and with baby on the way married. But came back to her small town parents to be close to home. All in a year and a half. “You’re high risk,” I quipped. “And how can you handle this workload full time with a child?”
Well, as many applicants have done, she went on and on about how it was doable. Then I insisted on her parents co-signing responsibility of my property in case they messed things up. I told her to bring them along for the interview. I thought that would get rid of her. I was wrong.
They arrived, mind you, without their PhD Mom which they told me the night before was definitely coming, who apparently was busy on her boat sailing around the Rideau. The dad would be their only backup.
More questions arouse about security and all and I had only spent five minutes on the tour when the daddy, the real captain of this shipwreck of a family, started walking away, leaving my cattle gate open with James and Elsie a mere ten yards away at that. I noticed this and also noticed the twenty something couple following in tow. “Mister Overbury we love your place but we think we would do things differently and so we don’t feel we should continue.”
They had arrived with work boots telling me they were glad to do a little volunteer work but suddenly, they were off with daddy to their boat presumably, no such luck for volunteerism. I tried to be gracious and asked the young groom if he wanted some salaried work doing framing here on the farm. “No Stephen. That’s DIY stuff. I’m a high end corporate carpenter,”
Where am I meeting these people?
I just love this next family I interviewed. It was the mother’s idea and she was almost begging me for a chance to show up with her husband and three grown and married children who all were on board for making this a community farm.
Only one of the three grown children showed. The son in law was a mover. I said, “Great. I can move out with your help.”
His response was so telling, so typical of the caliber of the applicants I have seen. “Sure, but I don’t do nothin for free, understand?”
The mother barely followed me around the interview tour, tending to one of her two fostered young children. The father wanted the tour to be over with soon as he had a bingo match to attend.
By now dear reader you start to feel what I feel.
Take the other local older couple that were, they told me, seasoned hard workers with farming and landscaping business background years ago but they were as fit as a fiddle, they told me. But when I made the visit to their trailer camp, the lady I met was barely able to walk me a cup of coffee fifteen feet. The husband, and let me put this delicately, was just about a twin. Off he went about his handyman skills. Why he could do just about anything. In fact, he had just built this wonderful boat dock in front of me. “Wow,” I replied. May I take a stroll?”
Off I went and within ten feet suddenly fell into the water as the whole thing collapsed. Don’t you dare think I can make up this stuff. It’s just too weird to make up.
Hundreds and hundreds of screened applicants, some as hilarious over the phone, others just as depressing to meet have come and gone but my favorite was Erica and Joel.
Here was another twenty something couple that wrote me an engaging letter. I gave them a hard time and said they were too young and they would need to have Mommy and Daddy’s backing. Bring me your parents I told them. They promised but showed up after a five-hour drive without the parents.
Then the strange took over. We hit it off big time. They were truly caring healthy happy smiling people who loved animals and humanity at large and were as fit as the lumberjack with the undisclosed criminal record I had hired and fired and his government disability collecting wife (of which I will write about in the future).
Joel and Erica were amazing. I threw the hardest possible clean up jobs at them and they just laughed their way through it all, full of positive vibrations. They persuaded me they loved the place and wanted the job.
I was somewhat relieved but with no call back very concerned about the sincerity of their application. I should also tell you dear reader that Joel was officially diagnosed as intellectually challenged, living with Aspergers Syndrome. If you met him you would think the profession of shrinks were the ones who needed help, not Joel. I had Erica’s gracefully penned letter, which lured me in, but Joel’s letter was handed to me when he came. It read like a grade one story, or less. Almost inarticulate, scrolled pencil writing, rambling ideas. But guess what? It was brilliant. It was heart felt. It was beautiful. It expressed the essence of everything I stand for and want in an applicant. Here he was, this allegedly challenged individual. All those other self-serving parasitical 17,500 applicants that have tried to snow me were a pale comparison.
Here was this discard in society that won my heart. And broke it just as quickly.
I called him and we had a long talk. “It just won’t work for us Stephen. Just to far away from Waterloo. We won’t be able to connect with our community.”
What I had not been told was that there is this invisible non structured hippie community in Waterloo made up of about forty young people aged 25 to 35 range who get together regularly to have a good time, like the upcoming moon dance in a provincial park where they will dance the night away. Without drugs. Without booze. Without predatory behavior. Exposing the virtues of Georges P. Vanier and C.S. Lewis. Just hanging out together and just being themselves. Good vibrations. Most do not have official handicaps at all as Joel does. No, the glue in this group is the disillusionment with the way the world has become, a scary place where an absolute lunatic is President of the United States, where the highest possible ranked church official is charged with molesting children, where refugees are scattered like snow flakes in a windstorm, where we kill off one another with deadly chemicals and legal drugs and have no concern for animals. Where caring individuals are marginalized for actually caring about anything other than themselves. Where only money, status and stuff matters. Where the expression of the day is, “He who has the most stuff wins.”
Such like- minded people exist as I am not unique and I am still looking to hook up with them to take over Free Farm. By some miracle, all of the disappointments over these tiresome interviews won’t stand in the way of eventual success.