Everywhere people are having fun all at once. If you didn't know Covid was over, you haven't been to my own home state. It is a haven for Spring Break Madness. People are everywhere. They send photos. It is the Season of Mirth! You need to be there!
Or so it would seem.
Which, if you are not, can be quite daunting.
"How'd I get left out?"
I didn't. I've had many invitations to "have fun." I guess I've self-selected the quiet life. I've grown quite used to it, I suppose, having never been tempted by a crowd. But the photos and images pour in. People at the beach, on boats, eating, drinking, in bathing suits, ripped, young. . . .
I decided to garden. Jesus Christ. . . really? Might as well have gone bowling, right? Gone to Bingo?
I got up early and went to a nursery. Came home and laid the plants out in the garden. I realized I needed more, so I went to another nursery. Back home and ready, I dug, threw cow manure into the hole, turned the dry hole into a mucky swamp with the hose, broke open the root bunch, dropped the plant into the hole, and swept the unearthed dirt back to fill. Except, the neighbor has planted some tropical thing that has monstrous roots that have run through my garden soil. I couldn't cut through them with the shovel I was using. I had to get the big, heavy roofing shovel to chop through the thick roots and then strain to dig them out. I was dirty, sweaty, and sick with fatigue. I'd run dry of swear words. What might have taken me an hour took me half the day. When it was all done and pretty, I stood admiring the work, misting the garden with the hose. Sweet.
I needed to pot the catnip I bought the week before. I wondered if the cats would take to it. I started to fill a pot, but I hadn't enough potting soil, so I took a run to the hardware store up the street to get more. Once I got the catnip that was looking pretty done for into the pots and watered them well, they began to perk up.
Things were looking pretty good. I remembered that I wanted to fill the hummingbird feeder that has not been filled for years. I boiled water and mixed in sugar one part to three. I almost used honey, but fortunately I Googled it. DO NOT USE HONEY! That is the way to kill a bird for some reason. Doesn't seem to make sense to me, but I'm glad I looked it up.
That was the last thing. Tired but satisfied, I made a gin and tonic and sat on the deck in sad admiration.
Sad? Yea. My phone was blowing up. Beaches, boats, and bikinis.
"Where's the Shaman?"
I thought about sending a photo of the garden, but decided to stay aloof. The gin and tonic was hitting the right spot. Fuck it. I wouldn't be having fun on a boat with a bunch of dumb drunks anyway. The short video clips were noisy, loud. That has never been me, not as a teen, not in my twenties. Not. I've always preferred the secret hideaways, cafes in the high mountain villages of Peru or nearly deserted Mexican beaches. My idea of a crowd are the ones in museums and museum cafes.
So why was I so. . . something.
I remembered making the first garden with Ili. Filling the bird feeders. She always grew potted herbs. She'd paint the clay pots. She couldn't keep a plant alive for long, but she loved gardening.
"You got a brown thumb," I'd laugh. She'd laugh, too. But she liked muddling herbs and making drinks. We'd sit on the deck and watch the birds and drink and laugh.
Fuck yea. That's Spring Break.
I showered and went to my mother's. I took over some plants I'd bought for her garden. She was not outside when I got there, so I went to the garden to set the plants down. I would plant them later. I was feeling clean after a day of cutting roots. Even my fingernails were clean. But the plants looked like they were wilting, so I showered them for a bit. When I had done, I knocked on my mother's door. She was on her computer.
"Wait a minute, my son just walked in. I'm going to let you talk to him."
She was sitting with her laptop waving the phone at me.
"Here. . . here. . . . "
"What are you doing?"
"Something popped up on my computer screen. Everything was locked. I couldn't do anything. It said to call this number."
What the fuck! I sat down at the computer. My mother was typing in a password to download something. I took the phone.
"I'm sorry. Who am I speaking with?"
A woman with a heavy Indian accent said, "I'm with Apple. We are trying to help unlock the computer."
I put the phone on the table and stood up. "I don't know what you are doing. This is a scam. Do what you want."
I was pissed. How many times have I told her. . . .
I walked outside. Why do I buy my mother computers, iPads, iPhones? All she does is fuck them up.
She came outside. She'd hung up the phone. I got the laptop and restarted it. I checked for downloads. I looked through her apps. Everything seemed to be fine. My mother was shook. I was pissed. The two attitudes didn't mesh well. My mother is slowing down in every way now. She does not deal well with everyday problems. She is beginning to feel lost, I think. There is little I can do. I stayed longer than I wanted just talking. It was not the best ending to the day.
Back home it was time for another G&T. I'd made a Greek salad earlier and there was plenty left over. Just add tuna. There would be no cooking tonight.
As I sat in the last light, the feral cat came. I'd already fed her twice. Still, she went to her bowl. I went inside and readied some of the salad. I opened a can of tuna and put most of it on top, but I left some in the can for the feral cat. Kosher salt, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. A chunk of fresh sourdough French bread. A glass of wine. The cat and I ate as the air began to cool. The first birds came to the bird feeders. A peaceful, pastoral scene right here in the heart of the village.
Night would fall, my mother alone in her house. Couples were heading to dinner. The rowdy Spring Breakers were dancing on table tops throwing back hideous shots. I would go inside to read, maybe listen to music, perhaps watch something on television. I could go out. Nothing is very far away. I would not, however. I do not have the right companion. There were years without lovers, but I had interesting, unattached friends. They were good company. Life was always an adventure. What happened to all the interesting people? Where did they go?
I know where they aren't.
I was going to quit this continuous complaint. I thought it might be affecting me in a deleterious way. I wasn't going to become suddenly chirpy. I just thought not to write at all. But without this purging, I found quickly, I fell deeper into the hole. I can't quit writing and ride on boats, drink by swimming pools, cram into popular bars.
"We should hang out."
Oh, honey. . . you have no idea what you are asking.
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