Asking my parents for money was convenient but doing so wasn’t going to help my future career plans. Besides, asking them for ten bucks to buy a movie ticket made me feel guilty. High school was a natural time for many students to start working part-time and most of my fellow classmates already had jobs, some even receiving promotions. I was 14 at the time and I had yet to apply for a minimum wage position. I seemed lazy, even spoiled!
My mom replied, “If you’re going to earn 10 bucks an hour while working for someone else I’d rather you’d spend your time working for me. Such as doing chores.” My mother replied after I told her about my big plans to get a part-time gig.
I gasped. “Mom, you already feed me, clothe me, and house me. ‘Earning’ money from you for house work that I should already be doing doesn’t seem fair.”
“House work that you should be doing but that you don’t actually do?”
I grimaced. I hated when Mom was right. Which she usually is.
Mom made a proposition, “The driveway has weeds sprouting between the interlocks again. Go pluck them out. I’ll pay you 10 dollars an hour for your work.”
I convinced two friends to join me, promising them they’ll be rich beyond their dreams. We armoured ourselves with gloves, screwdrivers, and stools. We sat hunched over the ground, dug the screwdrivers into the crevices and began attacking the green intruders.
We were warriors hell-bent on one mission: clear every inch of the driveway of those stubborn weeds. The desert sun beat down on our backs like a merciless slave driver. All you could hear was the chipping of metal on stone.
Chip, scratch, pluck. Chip, scratch, pluck.
For every weed we plucked, thousands more littered the horizon.
My vision would blur and I would have difficulty breathing whenever I looked up from my work and saw the unconquerable plain of glechoma hederacea before me.
But we chipped, scratched, and plucked on.
Half a day later the army of weeds was defeated. We had prevailed. We had laboured for five hours, 10 bucks an hour. My mother came out, eyed the driveway and nodded in happy approval. She didn’t think we’d be able to do it, but we showed her.
Each of us got fifty dollars for our labour that day. A day of joy and pride. My first fifty dollar bill was earned with sweat, a screwdriver . . . and a giant sunburn down my back?
It went from the nape of my neck, across the shoulders and down to my lower back. It ached, made me squirm and glowed red in the dark. I became a walking lamplight for a while. My well-deserved sleep that night became unbearable. My pajamas chaffed against my sunburn and caused it to sting. It itched, flaked, and grew redder and hotter as the minutes went by.
I groaned. My 50 dollar bill didn’t seem as glorious as it did a few hours ago. It definitely wasn’t worth this much pain. I got up the next day and noticed that the weeds my two friends and I had worked so hard to pluck the day before had slowly started reforming their battle lines.
I decided that earning pocket money by plucking weeds in the middle of the baking sun was too hard for me. If I ever needed some spending cash I would take the safest, surest route.
Asking my parents for it.