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August 17, 2009

And there was great gesturing and hollering and carrying on, and alas, all for naught.

There is very little dramatic turmoil in my life. I have managed to get my life to a place where it's quite small and usually fine, and sometimes I have my days at my job or in traffic where I am a little emotional, but for the most part I am not an angry crazy person waving around tiny fists of rage.

On Saturday I went to the grocery store and it was so nice outside -- there was a marine layer, so it was cloudy and cool and I had been listening to a good song on the radio and traffic was light. I pulled into my driveway and the gardeners were there. As I was getting out of the Jeep one guy turned on the front sprinklers. He saw me, I mean he was four feet from me, and I just shook my head and said, "Excuse me, hello!" and he said, "Oh, yeah." and then waited until I got my groceries and went inside.

I don't like these gardeners. I miss Francisco. I know that Francisco used to hack away at the shrubbery and he was strange and sculpted all the bushes out front into tiny stunted trees. But he would have a beer with me sometimes and he was funny and he never bothered me. These gardeners are obsessed with the stupid grass and they leave me mean notes about the sprinklers -- which they themselves break quite often -- and they're loud and they ruin Saturdays. But I try not to complain because hey, it's hard to make a living and I figure they're doing the best they can and why complain, right?

So I take my slightly sprinkler-dampened groceries into my house on Saturday and as I am walking toward the kitchen I look out back and I notice something is very, very wrong.

This used to be my garden:


Leafy, gorgeous pumpkin vines trailed up the wall and all along the corn stalks and it was so pretty and happy out there.

This is what was left after the gardeners came:


That's my still-growing pumpkin stash -- the pride of my entire garden -- now attached only to the hacked off-ends of what were green, happy vines.


I'm getting angry all over again. But on Saturday it was like I grew a new head and my new, hungry angry head wanted to EAT THE ARMS OFF THE PUMPKIN MURDERERS.

I flew out the door and I was on them and let me tell you, a hissy was pitched. Yes, in the middle of Saturday morning with all the nighbors out and about and watching, I pitched a hissyfit to end all hissyfits. But the gardener was not apologetic. He didn't plead no hablo ingles (which would have been the smart move) or even try to act dumb. He argued with me. He became defiant.

This only enraged me. I mean, enraged.

"The landlord told me to do it!" he yelled at me.

So I called the landlord, who I had specifically asked back in April what I could do to keep the gardeners from cutting the pumpkin vines this year and he said, "Put a border around it and they will leave it alone." So I got the landlord on the phone and the landlord talked to the gardener and the gardener started to argue with him! Then "the gardener" changed his story. First it was, "They were all dead anyway." So I offered to take pictures on my phone and send them right then and so he changed the story again, "They were damaging the hedges." Finally I just took the phone and told my landlord I would talk to him later when I was less HOLLERING MAD and then I hung up.

I told the guy to leave, get away from me and my murdered pumpkins. There was a whole lot of conversation here I won't repeat but suffice it to say it ended with something like, "And when I move out and the new tenants have four giant dogs and you're picking up dog poop and hoping you don't get attacked by them you will wish you had never killed off the nice lady's pumpkins!" or something equally lame which completely bored the gardener and he left. And I was alone with my poor, dying pumpkins and my empty ugly grey cinderblock wall.

And then I called my dad and I cried. About my garden. People, I know there is real tragedy in this world and I am not here to tell you that the worst thing which has ever happened involved a pumpkin. But I have so few pleasures in my life. My life is this tiny, compressed little sentence and the only things that give me great joy are my cats and talking to my family and my knitting and writing things here and there and sometimes going on a trip. Gardening is something I do because there's such happiness in every aspect of it, picking the site or pot, finding the soil, picking out your seedlings and arranging them just so in the dirt, smiling at your handiwork, watching it grow and bloom and flourish. It's life-affirming.

And they killed it.

So now I have to decide if I'm going to stay in this house and walk around the back yard every Saturday following them to be sure they don't hack away all my tomatoes and herbs or if I'm going to move. I haven't made any decisions yet. Maybe it's time for a change. Maybe I can find a cheaper gardener and my landlord can fire these guys. I don't even care anymore, they can't bring my garden back. I'm just full of give up. Maybe I'll move to the beach and have one nice potted plant and call it a day. The only thing I know for sure is that this year's garden is over.

I'm still mad.

Posted by laurie at August 17, 2009 10:02 AM