The Tomato Tyrant
Being part of a local organization like a PTA, neighborhood advisory board or community garden is a wonderful way to connect with your neighbors, acquire new skills and learn all about the many different and exciting ways there are to be eccentric. For example, the gardener who has been tilling the shared soil at the community garden since 1903 and has no time for newbies like yours truly. "Sure, put your pots over there in the sun," such a fellow grunted at me when I asked if a space was free. "They'll be dead by July, anyway." I felt like he'd reached out and pinched me. This person surely did not mean any harm. Of course, it never seems this way at the time, and I assumed he was simply being cruel. Writer and teacher Jennifer Pastiloff has a great post about taking things personally on her site, The Manifest-Station, in which she writes, "I want to have lived. Having said that, I want to decide what gets my goat. I want to decide what makes me fall on the floor in a heap and I'll be damned if it's going to be someone asking me if I am pregnant because I look fat in a photograph." People will say insensitive things every day of our lives. The good news is, we get to decide what we do and don't obsess over. PS: July came, eventually, and guess what? My pots resembled dioramas of the Sahara. The seasoned gardener had been right all along—they were too much in the sun, literally—only I was too touchy to take his comment in the manner it was intended.The poor seedlings might have flourished, over in the shady corner instead. Sigh. Tomato Tyrant, you are forgiven.