So. Last night, Chicago Now bloggers participated in the monthly writing challenge called “Blogapalooza.” The trick is to create a blog post in one hour based on a topic revealed to you at the top of said hour. At the end of the time, you have to hit the “publish” button NO MATTER WHAT. This is the result of my attempt. Now you see how the sausage is made.
Come over here. Allow me to take your hand. Turn your face away and let me lead you past that train wreck. I don’t want you to gaze on that. Here, I’ll show you what I was trying to write if I had more time….
March’s ChicagoNow Blogapalooza assignment topic is: “Write about something you find beautiful that you feel others may not understand.”
I love green growing things. I love them inside the house. I love them outside of the house. I love them in cute pots. I love them on window sills. I love them around the base of a tree. Flowers, vines, hostas, fruits, veggies, groundcover, moss. I’ll take it all. You can have your spectator sports. You can have your four-legged companions. You can even hang on to your fancy purses and shoes– if you just leave me to play in the dirt. There’s something about watching things grow that makes me hopeful, especially when you nurse a plant back to life that you thought had seen its last days.
I once had a vacant apartment which was being shown by my property manager. This was during a really down rental market and it had been particularly tough to find an acceptable tenant. The manager told me she had several showings scheduled for a Saturday. I got up extra early, pulled on my bummy work clothes and tied on my bandana. I wanted to go wipe everything down with Pine Sol and open all the windows to give it a fresh feel.
As the first appointment time approached, I saw the property manager pull up in front to prepare to meet the first group of prospective tenants. I quietly let myself out through the back door, doubled back around the side of the building and went to sit on my neighbor’s porch (a friend) to wait for the appointment to pass. This was just a first showing, not an interview, and I was not in a professional condition to greet a prospective tenant. So I just sat back and let the manager do her thing.
I sat admiring the small landscaped patch I had just created in front of my building within the last couple of weeks to increase the curb appeal. I live on sites like Pinterest and Martha Stewart.com looking for ideas. I’m a stickler for trying to get the right effect. I spent hours down on my hands and knees planning, measuring, digging and covering. I even created little chicken wire cages around the tulip bulbs so squirrels couldn’t munch on them like pears. Trust me, I did a great job with the symmetry, laying the weedblock and even the neatness of the wood mulch.
When the showing was over, the family walked out of my building and started sharing their impressions with each other about the place. The manager stayed inside to take care of some paperwork so the family walked out alone. I nodded a friendly “hello” but I didn’t identify myself. They nodded back and continued to stroll past me to their car. Because they were “unobserved” they felt comfortable to speak freely among themselves.
They were in love with the apartment itself—the hardwood floors, ceramic tile in the kitchen and bath, the walk-in pantry and eat-in kitchen, the privacy of the enclosed back yard. Honestly, it’s a nice place. I’m proud of it, and if I could afford my own rent I would live in it myself. You can imagine my surprise, though, when they let me hear what they really thought about my little flowers.
The daughter, a young woman in her mid-20s, looked at my freshly landscaped, uncluttered little patch and literally shivered. “If this was my place,” she said to her family with a curled lip, “the first thing I would do is pull ALL of that shit up! I hate flowers.” Nods of agreement all around.
As they continued to their car, I was glad they couldn’t see the abject horror on my face. I couldn’t process it. WHAT THE HELL KIND OF PEOPLE DON’T LIKE FLOWERS?!! Doesn’t that compare to saying something like, “I hate puppies,” or “Eee-uuu! Babies sure give me the creeps.” My first impression was maybe these folks were not used to the finer things in life.
Well, like I said, it was a really down market. At that time, beggars couldn’t be choosers so I did end up renting to them. And guess what? They were the worst tenants I ever had. It was a disaster and my hunch was absolutely right. They had no idea how to treat nice things.
So let that be your litmus test. Whenever you’re in a situation where you need to
gauge someone’s character, ask the other person, “What do you think of flowers and green growing things?” Use it for first dates, job interviews, or canonization ceremonies for living saints.
And if you, my friend, represent the side of the equation who doesn’t like nature’s bounty, this might be a good time for you to sit down, spend some time with yourself and re-evaluate how you’re living your life. Because frankly I just don’t know you anymore.
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