I’ve become a midnight gardener, which, among the awesome evening professions, ranks just beneath midnight cowboy and way above rural newspaper delivery. Not to digress, but have you ever imagined that job interview?
Interviewer: Are you comfortable driving on the wrong side of the road, making gratuitous
u-turns, and chucking paper out your window? At 3:00 a.m.? While wearing a hoodie?
Guy: Not a problem, brah. I do it all the time.
Anyway, long story short, my neighbor tried to prune my bush. From the middle. Very avant-garde hairstylist. Now it is mostly dead with split ends, but it still has impressive body! I’ve been ignoring the situation since I moved in eight months ago because it was so overwhelming and part of me hoped it would fix itself, as nature sometimes does. When I encounter a scary spider in the bathroom, my go-to strategy is to make a swift exit, return in a few hours, and then it just magically disappears.
But not so with the bush. It’s just this impossibly huge supervillain that lurks a few feet outside my front door and somehow manages to increase in size while also getting more and more dead. (Aren’t dying things supposed to shrivel, as a courtesy? Like guests who pull their car out of your driveway and get smaller and smaller until they just quietly disappear into the night? No?)
So Home Depot hooked me up with elbow-length welding gloves and I went in for the kill. DIE TO LIVE, BOOGIE MONSTER BOUGAINVILLEA*!
Backstory: When I arrived at Home Depot, I was a bit frantic. I ran up to a lady employee in the aisles, looked her straight in the eyes, and said, "Listen. I have a huge bush. Size XXL. It's way out of control. Can you help me?" She gave me the biggest smile, held my hand, listened to me jabber, and that's how we found my welding gloves. She was my very personal shopper, and eagerly indicated that she could help me with anything else I may need. Home Depot customer service really is in a class by itself.
*Yes, I had to Google how to spell that. Louis Antoine de Bougainville (1729-1811), French navigator, is surely rolling in his grave as I pronounce this word like an overconfident toddler: boogie-veeya! I go snip snip on my boogie plant!
ACT 1, SCENE 2: MY YARD
I didn’t plan on doing the deed in the dark, but a few nights ago the spirit moved me: I just felt like hacking something to pieces after I got home late from work. I wandered out to the bush in my sleeveless dress and dangly jewelry, picked up the shears, and got in there. It felt better than I expected so I kept going.
I know what you’re thinking: my attire was not ideal. And that is true. You tug on one branch and it's connected to 50 other pieces-- you can only pull it so far before you boomerang back into a bed of 2 inch thorns. Sleeves are preferred in this moment.
And then there’s the possum. I won’t elaborate, but suffice it to say he’s not thrilled that I’m remodeling.
But other than that, Xtreme Midnight Gardening is so much fun! The air is crisp, no one tells me what to do, it’s dark so there’s this sense of mystery and adventure. I can sweat, grunt, groan, swear, make a mess, stab myself, flail my arms, get a fierce workout. It’s better than CrossFit. I chip away pretty much every night and I’m slated to finish by 2018. Cool!
There's just one final nagging problem. I have discovered soft spongy almost liquid white fungus in two places. Do I scrape it off? Leave it on? Market it as locally sourced vegan whipped cream? I need to know: Will it kill whatever is left after all my meticulous pruning?
I tried to figure out which specific kind of organism it is, but the Google image matches were just these hauntingly beautiful artistic photos of fungus, no scientific details. Apparently it’s a popular subject for mood art.
Ah, nature. If it isn't a beauty, it's a beast. Maybe I should just embrace the situation, take pictures, and sell them to 24 hour hipster coffee shops. This bush is definitely made for night owls.
My name is Nasreen Yazdani. I used to write micro essays, one-liners, and other small, lighthearted things. Most of them were funny.