How My Tomato Plants are a Perfect Metaphor for This Summer
I aspire to be a gardener in the same way I aspire to be handy: first I borrow a bunch of stuff from my neighbors, then they end up taking pity on Mrs. Nostrikethat when it’s been two weeks without load-bearing walls and finally they end up doing most of the work while I am entrusted with operating the Keurig.
Every year, with glasses firmly rose-colored, I try to take on a simple vegetable garden. Every year I manage tomatoes that could be called “tomatoes” in the same way that a Twinkie could be called “food”.
To make matters worse, I am surrounded by green thumbs. My mother relates to vegetables on an almost instinctual level–although I am sure being married to my dad has given her plenty of practice. My neighbors all have several successful well-established garden plots. My Facebook feed is ripe with Gaea’s Bounty, too:
“Oh I have too many tomatoes this year, does anyone want some salsa?”
“My peppers just won’t stop growing!”
“Gardening is so easy and fun!”
Dutifully I watered and fertilized. My gifted starter plants actually grew and started to flower. I Believed.
I can totally survive the End of Days now. Who needs a grocery store? Man I am amazing.
Then my plants stopped responding to light, water, and nitrogen.
They looked like Thursday night after a week of double shifts working to close.
I tried giving them coffee because that always perks me up and I get my vegetative qualities from my dad so I thought the reverse might be true.
Still they wilted.
It’s as if they said “It’s August, I’m tired of life, let me leave you with a sampling of anatomically ludicrous fruits to taunt you with what might have been.”
“P.S.- you suck.”
Now let me introduce you to my mums. Despite not even the slightest amount of concern from me regarding their well-being they have come back every single year, bigger than ever. They are the ordinary Homedepotus Onsaleacus variety bought 4 or five years ago because we needed some “fall color” or something equally womanly. I think decided to plant them in that little spot because it was a nice day and I was avoiding doing the dishes.
We have had by all accounts a pretty fantastic summer. We’re luck enough to have friends. Some of those friends like us enough to invite the travelling Nostrikethat circus to go places with them. Our kids have amazing grandparents, near and far, who shower them with attention. We did swim team. We swam in a lake. We got lost in the woods. My most favorite moments, though, always seemed to just happen.
Sitting in camp chairs on the driveway drinking beer with the neighbors on a Tuesday night.
Listening to the kids tell jokes at the dinner table. BANANA SANDWICH! HAH!
Sharing a quiet glass of wine with Mrs. Nostrikethat after the kids have exhausted themselves from playing outside all day.
Staying up late with my oldest to play video games.
I’m sure there’s a metaphor in here somewhere.
Or maybe I just need to remember to ask someone to water the plants when we go away for a long weekend.