Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Switcheroo

Tomorrow night, Husband and I are going to a local winery with some friends. It's a little place way out in the country, a little vineyard with a very small restaurant. By small, I mean it has one room with enough seating for 25 or so people, and you have to reserve it almost a year in advance. Most people reserve the whole thing and take everyone they know. That's the case here. We're going with about 20 other people. Because there won't be a designated driver, we have thought about hiring an Amish hauler--which is probably only funny to a local person--there are people who work as drivers for the Amish who don't drive cars but will gladly ride in a van driven by the English.

The winery is run by a husband and wife team. The husband used to be a chemist for the government, testing and developing agricultural stuff, but after years and years of that kind of work, he pitched it all, bought this land, planted a vineyard, and now runs his own little winery. He looks very happy standing behind the long wooden bar pouring samples. His wife is a chef, and she personally crafts dinner and serves it in this small room with big stone walls and wooden floors. I can't wait.

In the summer, the place is entirely different from what it is in the winter. Dinner is served on picnic tables outside, and the kitchen can accommodate dozens of people at once. When you make your reservations, you select steak or chicken. Then, when you arrive and have chosen your bottle of wine, you are directed to a picnic shelter and given a tray of meat which you grill yourself. It's all very lovely, surrounded by gardens and fountains and a fish pond.

The thing that really strikes me about this place, though, is the owner. Here is a guy who studied and planned and worked in a field for over twenty-five years. Then he switched, not to something completely different--chemistry and wine making make sense together--but to something less...let's say industrial. So, I got to thinking, what if other people with "industrial" jobs all switched later in life? What jobs would they convert to?

--A graphic designer who designs book covers and catalogs switches to making hand-crafted one-of-a-kind greeting cards

--A construction worker who spends 30 years building bridges switches to building jungle gyms for school playgrounds

--A garbage collector switches to sculpting with thrown-out scraps of metal and wood (Junk Yard Wars used to be one of my favorite shows, and I wish I knew how to weld)

--A CEO of a Fortune 500 company switches to teaching grass-roots business principles to small-business hopefuls in Appalachia

--A bus driver in New York City switches to driving the Amish around the Ohio Valley

Fill in the blanks here with some other ideas, becuase I'm running low.


Sassy Sundry said...


My pottery teacher was a geologist for oil companies before deciding that he wanted to be a potter instead.

I know a guy in town who was a high-end real estate broker who is now a woodworker.

Those are the ones I can think of. I really like the sounds of that little place. Have fun with the Amish hauler.

RICH said...

I guess this could apply to me. For 20 plus years I worked in the defense industry to go into health care. Basically I went from a bomb factory to a hospital. I still think I'm going to make another switch sometime in the near future.

Have fun!!

Gina said...

A police officer could go into designing security systems.

A lawyer could start a social justice group.

Hmmm, I haven't had breakfast yet, so I'm running low myself!

Robyn said...

These are some great examples/ideas. Rich, did you ever explain what you did exactly at the bomb factory?

dive said...

An Architect's dream:
In my spare time I've been swotting up on earthquake-resistant design and sustainable materials.
If I have any money left to retire with, I rather fancy going to somewhere poor and earthquake prone and deisgning low cost, earthquake resistant buildings the locals can put up with what's to hand, instead of the army tents and sheets of corrugated iron the aid agencies hand out.

dive said...

Oh, and I hope you all have a lovely meal tomorrow night.

Robyn said...

Dive, what a great goal. Something cheaper than a tent would definitely be a challenge.

RICH said...

Robyn - my work there was TOP secret!! It would be a security breach to confess to my crimes. But I did it for the good of the country.. at least that's what I told myself while I was there. I will post some entertaining stuff about my past life working for the war profiteers. ; )