Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Magic Garden

First off dear readers, please take a few moments to visit the site below to read Linda Milazzo's piece on the gentrification of skid row, and the criminalization of poverty. I wasn't as upset as she was by the portrayal of the homeless population in the film "The Soloist," but her point that the law enforcement community has been used to deliberately rid the area of the homeless to make way for the affluent is well worth reading. It also furthers my long held belief that the police are little more than hired thugs for the rich and well heeled. 
Now to our garden.
Last Monday morning, promptly at nine o'clock, I found myself sitting outside Erin and Paul's office waiting patiently. I always find myself doing this as Erin and Paul are late for 98% of our scheduled activities, today's being the Garden Club. I had two big buckets of garden water sitting there with me.
(an amendment to the line above. It is now two twenty one in the afternoon of the twelveth of May, and I am being held at gun point by Erin and her minions who, shall we say, object to being characterized as being late 98% of the time to scheduled activities. "You forget Yoga Class, Rick" she is saying. "And I get there early, so that must count for something!" "Okay, okay," I tell her, "just don't shoot." "Don't worry, it's not loaded. But I can still karate chop the hell out'a yah." "Alright, ninety per cent?" "Nope." "Eighty five?" "Anything more than seventy six and you're still in trouble." "Seventy six it will be." "Good.")
Hardy, another earnest gardener, came up to me, and asked, "You put that stuff out there, didn't you?"
"What stuff?"
"That stuff out there in the garden."
"No. I have no idea what you're talking about."
"Sure, sure you don't." He walked away.
Soon Erin came out, when she was damn good and ready. I stood up.
"Hi Rick!"
"Hi Erin. How was your weekend?"
"Fine. And yours?"
"It was good. I got a lot of work done."
"You always say that."
"Where's Paul?"
"He's running a little late."
"Did you see our new cactus?"
"I sure did. Where did that little guy come from?" She was referring to a three inch tall barrel cacti sitting patiently on the windowsill we were standing next to.
"From the ninety nine cent store. I got it yesterday."
"I like it. It's already got a little flower growing on top."
That was true, it did have a little flower growing on top.
We walked out the short distance to the garden.
"Hey, what's this?" Erin asked.
She was looking at our tomato plants. Underneath their leaves where little tomatoes. And two oranges sat under our dwarf orange tree, and various little peppers sat under our various pepper plants. They were not connected to the plants in any way, just sitting beneath them.
"Wow," I said, "I certainly didn't expect this."
"Rick, did you do this?" Erin asked.
"I most certainly did not."
"I think you did."
"I think you did."
"I didn't do it."
"You get here before everyone else."
"I didn't do it." She smiled, and we began our gardening activities, mine consisting of raking the many leaves that had fallen during the week. Erin began to water the plants.
Paul came out. "Hey, what's this?"
"Our garden grew some oranges, tomatoes, and peppers," I told him.
"Wow, cool," he said.
"I think Rick put them there," Erin said.
"I think Hardy put them there," I said.
"I didn't do it," Hardy stated.
Paul checked his earwig traps. Two tuna cans had been placed in the ground and filled with cooking oil. During the last week hundreds of the dumb little bugs had crawled into them and drowned. Thus continued Paul's pathological addiction regarding the genocide of these creatures.
Since no one else seemed to want to do it, I harvested all of the fruits and vegetables.
This phenomena, of fruits and vegetables appearing unexpectedly, is not without precedent. During the tenures of case managers Michelle and Marisela, this kind of thing happened all the time. Michelle founded the Garden Club, and walked outside to find the same thing.
"Rick, did you do this?" she asked.
Always with the blaming.
"Do what?"
One time we found a coconut out there, which was decidedly odd, as we had never planted a palm tree.
As the famous fictional detective Sherlock Holmes put it. "When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”
"I think we have to come to the realization that we're dealing with a magic garden here," I told Erin and Paul.
"Sure Rick."

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