Tended Gardens Don't Grow on Trees

Sep, 2007

We have a small, well-tended garden. Except for a little corner at the back where there was, till now, a messy, festive, growth orgy reminiscent of a wild, booz-fueled party after a triumphant rugby match. That's the view I got from my office window and I liked it just fine.

Not Wa, though. She'd been grumbling about it for some months and I was hoping the complaints would trail off over time and be forgotten, like the ones about my dress sense.

No such luck. I awoke last Saturday morning to find her working noisily in the garden at that corner. That noise was pregnant with message, because, let's face it, there's only so much incidental, non-deliberate noise one can make with soil.

My first instinct was to bolt; get in the car and drive to the mall, returning in the afternoon with a loaf of bread and announce that we'd run out of bread. As I mulled over the plan Wa looked up and saw me. 

Curses! Too late to run, I trudged on over to ask warily if I could help, hoping against hope she'd say no.

"NO!" she hissed, and handed me a hoe. Being a modern man sensitive to the female species, I know when "NO!" doesn't mean "no". So I grabbed the hoe and began digging up the roots of the growth she had already cut away. I'm sure the plants, before they died, had talked among themselves and called Wa a tight-ass party-pooper. I hope they understood that I was a mere conscript.

After some exhausting digging for five minutes, I was taking a break as Wa cleared the roots that I'd dug up when Abia came out back to ask if she could help.

"Can I do what you're doing, papa?"

"Sure," I said, and gave her the hoe. She promptly stood the hoe firmly on the ground and leaned against it, looking tired.

"Very funny," I said. "Now give it back and go eat breakfast." What a smart-ass.  Wa thought that was hilarious, saying "your daughter knows you well."

In place of the earlier, rapturous growth, Wa planted a single tree. By "tree" I mean sapling. She'd paid a pittance for that sapling instead of spending just a bit more and getting a half-decent tree worthy of the term. She had two good reasons, she said:

1) cheaper is cheaper and 
2) she wanted to nurture it and watch it grow.

Well I think that 
1) cheaper is just cheap and 
2) I should live that long. Now, when I look out my window, it'll be like watching paint dry.

Our neighbour has the same kind of tree. It's fully grown and magnificent, so sometimes I go over there and look at that instead. Then I return and tell that pathetic little sapling of ours to grow the fuck up. Scientists say plants respond well when you talk to them.

It's possible the sap’s telling me the same thing, but I'm too highly evolved to pay any attention to a mere plant. It better shut the hell up 'cause I run a tight ship around here. 

Now excuse me, Wa says I need to go buy some bread.

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