Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Lazy Gardener

I think anyone reading this knows me well enough to know I am pretty lazy.

The truth is, my bipolar disorder has gotten completely out of control this summer. Which is weird, because I was only formally diagnosed just this summer. Here, have a cat so you don't feel bad for me:

Actually, I think we can all agree that she looks surly at best here. That's her normal face. And yes, that is my cat.

I sat down to write a blog post about my garden, but let me digress further and take you into a manic mind.

Went to the bathroom. Thought about Robbie Williams and how I need to/want to listen to one of his albums that happens to be on Spotify, because one of the songs from that album came on my Pandora oh wait why does my black cat have crazy eye boogers? God, she is talky! Dude, I JUST cleaned this toilet. I swear I only cleaned the toilet like once every 3 months at our apartments and I clean the toilets here weekly. Did they do something to my toilets to make them really dirty? Like, when they were being installed? What was that song again? There was another song that made me cry and I'm not sure how it happened. I need to write stuff down. Shit, Sam and Carry are getting married in 4 days (it took me 4 tries to get the right measure of time there)! What was I writing down? Oh yeah I write in my planner what I did each day to try and grip onto reality. I remember nothing from Sunday, so I just put a "?". Should I be posting this on the internet? All great writers were disturbed in some way-- look at Hemingway! Don't, actually- he was a drunk and I am not. I also don't have polydactic cats. But... wait. Oh shit it's already technically Tuesday! Where are my headphones?

That's just a taste. That's my brain, constantly. Even when I am in a deeply depressed state, my brain refuses to shut down. It never slows down. It never stops. So when I am flighty, most people assume it's ADD or in my extreme manic states, ADHD, but it isn't. Unless the disorders are all connected, in which case it might be. Please note how I never really finished a thought up there. I also had to try several different ways to type "Tuesday" (including "14", "morning", "furry", and "tomorrow") before I figured out what I meant to type. Again, this isn't a flibbertigibbet thing. It's my brain and its fuckery.

I started this blog post with the intent to talk about my garden and turning it into a metaphor for my life.

I didn't think my garden through. Also, my (it has taken me 2 minutes to remember the right word) greenhouse was (another 30 seconds) sabotaged by the weather. The little greenhouse got knocked over and my seed pods were scattered and I didn't know what was what until well after they germinated. I have a WHOLE LOT of tomatoes. I canned a gallon of tomato sauce today, and that's probably not even half of my haul for the year. My corn was decimated by bugs and woodland critters. I don't even want to talk about the broccoli. I have a tiny zucchini that came from out of nowhere. My watermelon vines are kind of taking over. My poor sunflowers are downcast and sad, even though I know that means I will soon be getting tasty seeds from them. And yes, I planted the right kind.

At any rate, everything it all pell-mell, mish-mash. And to the outsider, it might seem like I am lazy as hell. The garden is overrun with weeds. I have a reason for this: Andy and I completely arbitrarily chose a spot last year to start our first garden, which happened to be in the side of the yard. You know, where the lawn goes. So... the lawn really never died. I see other people's neatly organised and weed-free gardens and am very jealous. There is one on the way to Christiansburg that is just gorgeous. I keep telling Andy I'm going to stop at their house and ask for their secrets.

The thing is, I see a slow-motion train wreck and get overwhelmed. I put more money into this year's garden than will eventually offset the money for that food. I know there was a better way to phrase that last sentence but it got away from me. Again, a slow-motion train wreck that I just give up on.

I don't water it when I need to. I obviously didn't think it through or bother weeding it. If something grows that is vaguely edible, I immediately destroy it. I hate fresh tomatoes, so I seed and puree them for sauce. I grate the HUGE zucchini for bread. The carrots all went in one night. Into my body that is. I got grossed out by the lettuce-- I kept thinking I was eating slugs even though I cleaned each and every leaf thoroughly. I got four ears of corn. That I actually ate as-is, with a little bit of butter. 

In short, the garden got out of control. It's supposed to be relaxing! It's supposed to be something that keeps me busy during the summer since no one will hire me! If a problem arises, I need to be right on top of it. I can fix anything in my garden, dammit! I fixed the blight of blossom end rot! 

Alas, no. I look forward to my garden all year. Then I plant it and I am just so so so so excited to see it growing and thinking about all the things I will do with my food... and it all goes horribly wrong.


...but I feel like that's how it is with school. I look forward to it when I am off for more than a week. Even on Thanksgiving break, by Wednesday, I am ready to send out a mass email asking my students if they need help with anything. At some point in the semester, however, things go downhill. Someone has managed to slide something past me, and then all of the sudden, every student wants their pound of flesh from me. Every semester, I tell myself it'll be different. 

This semester will be different.

They aren't going to call my by my first name. They will be responsible for their own awareness of their grades by being required to print off a grade rundown every Friday, and turning it into me. I'm going to try and have a podcast or something-- at the very least, have comprehensive notes for every lecture. I've been doing this for going on 4 years. Not much has changed over that time. Other than experience.

So, tl;dr: my garden is a lot like my job. I look forward to it immensely over the year, but when it finally comes around, it ends up imploding around me and I hope that there is something salvageable from the experience.

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