I recently moved into a house in with three (very sensitive and intelligent) male roommates, and yet I’m the only one who remembers the water our plants so they don’t die in the 100-degree heat.
When I went on a business trip to San Francisco for the day last Thursday, I remembered to text my roommate Max. “Please water the plants.”
Max works from our home office and so I knew he would be around and able to accomplish this minor task while I was away. Though four people live here, I alone had been watering the plants every single day since we moved in two weeks ago. No one asked me to, but no one else volunteered. The boys hadn’t even asked how the bamboo, tomato plants, trees, and bell-shaped fuzzy flowers managed to stay alive though they had all but ignored them completely.
Max’s blackberry replied “How much water?” Though I hate to generalize about gender, I feel I must in this case. Across the board, I have noticed with my various dude roommates, they cannot just “eyeball.” They are deathly afraid they will screw something up without a measuring cup or instruction from a more domestic creature.
“Enough so they are moist and happy,” I texted back. Without an instruction manual and/or modern systems of measurement, plant species have survived and thrived, and would do so longer than one business trip’s length even if watered slightly too much or too little. What was so hard?
I returned from my trip and the next day found myself again in flip flops spraying the hose in the front garden. Max came out onto the porch and told me he actually enjoyed himself watering the plants the previous day. We chatted about how relaxing it is to take a break from typing and computer screens to just spray some water on greenery and how serene it is to enjoy plants as they grow and change.
I sprayed the hose in the direction of the lone shrub in the middle strip of dirt by the driveway. “Oh no!” Max yelped. “I forgot to water that one!”
I told Max the resilient guy had somehow managed to survive despite Max’s attempts to murder him.
Why is it that some of us enjoy gardening and some do not? When I am tending to my tomato plants, pruning them, intertwining their leaves with their cages so they grow upward, harvesting my own food, I feel purposeful and whole. I believe most people would enjoy gardening if they got over the hump, the fear of doing something wrong.
On my day away, Max did remember to water my potted tomato plants, in the side yard, with a little green watering can, without being asked. So maybe there is hope for mankind.