Sunday, June 19, 2005

I feel better: my yard is less chaotic than Owen Woods

So here’s what happened: on Friday, I had a visitor who was here specifically to give feedback on how I was managing the upkeep of the house. His words: the yard looks like you are a woman in despair. You need to hire someone [translate: at a minimum of $40 an hour] to help you deal with it.

It stunned me. I mean, here I’d been trying to stay on top of things and I got this slap: woman, you are a failure! You talk big about perennials and plants but your yard looks so overgrown that even rabbits are staying away for fear of losing their way in the jungle that you call a garden.

Crap. Something needed to be done. First, I hovered under my quilt (this is my response to pretty much anything problematic these days). Then I took B out for a spin. Then came the walk in Owen Woods. Finally, as dusk was turning into darkness, I took the shears to my yard and started hacking away. I made progress. It now needs 9 people with 49 hours and extra sharp shears and blades to take care of it. But I feel complete. Like my coping skills are no longer subject to challenge.
Owen Woods at dusk Posted by Hello
my front garden: you know, all those green stalks will eventually produce blooms. just you wait. Posted by Hello

What was I thinking – first in a series of posts indicating that I basically have lost the ability to draw inferences of the sort: if A, then B.

Here’s a story from last night which, if not offering definitive evidence of the above, certainly is suggestive that my brain has crossed wires and unsound connections within:

In the early evening I biked over to Rowley Street (maybe a half hour away, toward downtown Madison). I intended to drop in on a get together of sorts, even though I knew only a small number of people in attendance. And because I knew only a small number of people in attendance, I thought I would surely drop out pretty quickly. And bike home. With maybe a stop over at a blogger’s house, because she appears to be okay with drop-bys and she lives near there.

It didn’t happen. Turns out there were four people who, in their second (or first?) lives played guitars very very well, and one who played harmonicas very very well and as night set in, the Beatles songs accompanied by multiple guitars came forth and people sang and ate and yes, drank beer and – this is a new one for me – organic cigarettes were passed around and although I did try a puff so that I could later brag that I’ll try anything as long as it’s legal, I wasn’t much into the smoking. But I am a sucker for people singing together, outside, late at night and so it was close to midnight before I left.

But wait, what was I thinking? If A, then B. If you take your bike out late at night to a gathering on the other side of town, then you have to imagine yourself capable of riding it back. I did attach a nice little cateye to Mr. B, so I was fairly certain I could see the road, but others thought I was insane to be riding the hilly roads at midnight.

I retorted that at midnight the roads are emptier than at noon and besides I can always hop on the sidewalk if I feel uncertain. I read the rules for bike riders, I know what is permissible. At which point someone said that the alcohol limits are placed on bikers as well and of course they are correct, but I had been doing more singing than drinking so I felt I was safe there.

What got me finally was someone’s description of what it’s like to ride on the sidewalk at night with even just one beer under your belt: you feel every bump even if you do not see it. It’ll knock your insides out.

So I caved. Which was okay. Someone took me and my bike home and during that car ride I found out that they sailed regularly and so out of the evening I got a lot of Beatles, some promises of joint bike trips from those who were boggled (not necessarily in a good way) by my determination and at least one sailing adventure, if I promised to work the ropes, or whatever it is that one does on sailboats.

If I were to summarize the evening in one sentence, I would say that it reminded me a lot of my earlier trip peddling west: I sang and sang and talked out of some kind of desperation, hoping that something would snap and then I could just glide and be done with it. I can’t say that anything snapped and I certainly did not glide in any shape or fashion, but the process of peddling and/or singing feels better than staying home under a quilt – which is the way I had spent the first half of the day.