Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Big Hat Theory

There are alot of mysteries I wish to uncover in my lifetime.
One of these is why blokes in boots, jeans and big Akubra hats are so bloody alluring to me.
They themselves mightn't even be good-looking! Yet I can't take my eyes off them. The situation is always made worse when they have that swagger.
You know the sort, the slow amble of the hips and the slightly bandy legs as though they've never left the saddle.
I think this stupid lust couldn't possibly be more Red-Necked. And it shows that despite the books I read, the diverse range of people I know, all the places I've been- my Red-Neck grains will always shine through when some annoying bloke in tight Wranglers and scuffed boots walks into the room. What is that!?
And the really weird part is, if I had to name the top 10 arseholes I've met in my life, 7 out of 10 of them were those stupid Akubra hatted and, tight-jeaned eye-gluers. Hello, logic, where are you!?
My most recent run-in with such a creature that brought the mystery to the surface all over again was not yesterday, but the day before- on Wednesday.
We hired some contract harvesters to come out and harvest our crop. They were a big group of people who hailed from South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland and every year they met up to work their way down the harvest trail with all their huge machinery.

Wednesday was boiling hot and we'd done our work in the early morning and were inside keeping cool when a great big yellow Header, a truck and ute came down our driveway in a grand entrance of noise.
Dad was like a little kid seeing a new toy as he saw them. We followed them out into the paddock in our old truck. He was a great bubbling mess and he exclaimed again and again about how big the Header was. I only looked at it. Sure it was big, but I'd seen bigger.
We stood out in the paddock amongest the flies and spoke to the contractors. They were a big family business that had been traveling down our way for over 10 years, our district being the final stop on the great Southern haul.
Dad talked to the man and this woman who was his sister-in-law or something while these two little girls they had brought with them sat in the ute beeping the horn and playing with numerous other buttons.
The Header was a few meters off in the paddock. The door had swung open and a figure in a big beaten hat, faded jeans and boots had climbed down.
Everyone was already staring at the Header and I luckily had sunnies on so no one could see what I was really staring at.
He was still too far away to make out how old he was, so he could've easily been ugly and grosse but I wanted to keep up the eye-candy illusion for as long as possible.
Eventually he swaggered over (ohhh that swagger) to be introduced. The big hat shaded half his face while large sunnies hid his eyes so the jury was still out. But I could still see a straight square jaw that always makes a positively chemical reaction when coupled with the big hat. This is the Big Hat Theory, now pay attention people.
He looked anywhere between 25 to 28 years old, but Northerners have a tendency to look older than they actually are.
He didn't have a beer gut so that was a bonus. Hahaha...
He stood before us very briefly not saying anything before returning to his Header to continue the 'fine-tuning'.
Dad and the man and lady continued to talk while I continued to indulge my fantasies.
Soon Dad said we had some jobs to do at the Woolshed so we sauntered off into the heat with my dog at our heels.
Not long after I stood peering through the broken window frames of the Woolshed watching the Header finally fire up and start out into the paddock, before returning to the house to get out of the heat.
I was back at the house for maybe only 20 minutes when Dad came back from the paddock squirming like a little boy again over the big toy, telling me how he'd been given a ride in it and how exciting it was.
I was then told that I had to experience the same thrill.
I firmly said no. Just the thought of being alone in the small cabin of the Header with Akubra-boy gave me goosebumps.
But I was ushered like a small unwilling animal out into the searing heat and into the paddock by Dad, who only succeeded because he unknowingly played on the concept of my courage. Thank you insecurity!
Back out in the paddock I anxiously shifted my weight from one foot to the other as I gradually watched the Header coming closer and closer towards us through the crop. God, why was I so bloody scared!?
Eventually it pulled up alongside the truck to empty the grain into.
And I was again ushered up into the cabin by telling myself I was a gutless wonder.
In the cool spacious cabin, sitting beside Akubra-boy I didn't feel as awkward as I thought I'd be.
As we started up again and headed out into the crop he told me how he was a stationhand/musterer/jackaroo from North-West Queensland, which was already the bleeding obvious between his clothes and lazy northern tounge. I told him about my brief stint on a station two years ago and it was soon discovered there were a couple of common grounds.
"I'm probably heading up to Queensland soon for some rouseabout work" I said trying to convince him as well as myself (the jury is still out on that- thanks to my gutless disposition).
He laughed "Yeah plenty of that up there!".
He'd only gone down one row when he turned to me "Reakon you could 'ave a go?"
I swallowed, "Ahh yeh".
At the fence line he swung the Header around and we swapped seats.
Behind the wheel I placed my hand upon the throttle and edged the machine into speed, while trying to watch the huge harvesters on the front as they spun furiously around and ate up the stalks of the crop like a giant lawn-mower. The rows were zig-zagged and ran in lines that would put a drunk grannie's driving skills to shame. I soon learnt the Header was a slow responder as I tried to steer it every which way to not miss any stalks. Akubra-boy laughing when I did.
As we reached the end of one row I turned the Header around to start on the next to see the crazily crooked lines I had left down the paddock.
Akubra-boy cackled "How much have you had to drink today?"
I grinned, "Not telling".
As we continued he told me more about himself, saying that this was probably the last crop he'd do this year.
I laughed "it's only the 9th of January!"
He nodded seriously, "Yeh, I'm sick of it. I'm going back mustering in Queensland"
I related. I suddenly really wanted to go to Queensland.
I finished off the last of the crop before swinging it back to the truck to empty the grain.
As I climbed down from the Header Dad was shocked to see me driving, but excited.
"What was it like?" Was It hard?"
I casually shrugged, suddenly the ol 'pro, "Nahh, steering was a bit shit, but was easy"
Back outside again, I was once again free to watch Akubra-boy swaggering around. Did I find him good-looking or was it just that old thang? I had no idea, but I couldn't take my eyes off him.
Later that evening I watched the big yellow Header disappear up the drive-way and I felt sad. Was I sad to see him go? Or sad to see someone go with the life I wanted?
I didn't know.
But, my feet suddenly felt itchy and I was suddenly more determined to go to Queensland.

I just need to find the courage first.......

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