Saturday, September 5, 2009

An absurd moment

“We wonder where you get these obsessions,” we said to our wife one Saturday mid-morning. We had been happily engrossed in our reading when she called for us to help her with the “big bushes.” We walked out in the backyard where she then outlined, to our consternation, how she wanted to uproot these two big bushes.

Frankly, we had barely known of their existence before, as they seem to blend in with the other foliage that grows in this corner of the yard. “What is wrong with these bushes?” we wondered, annoyed as the absurd perspective leaked away for some moments and the simian emotions took over. “They provide fine cover.”

“They are ugly,” our wife countered.

“They have been here for years.”

“And I’ve been meaning to dig them up for years,” she proceed. “And these wild violets,” she said waving disgustedly at the things. “We’ll need to get a tiller and tear these up and try to grow grass here.”

We were flummoxed. “That’s just a lot of work for nothing,” we protested. “It’s like you are creating work.”

Our wife sighed audibly, exasperated at our apparent disinterest in the bushes and the violets.

“You know,” we said, the absurd returning to our veins, coursing through the soft gray matter of our brains. “Life is short. And should we be lucky enough to look back on it all near the end, I don’t think we’ll care a whit about the bushes or whether there was grass here or not. None of it matters, don’t you see?”

“You're so dramatic,” she said. “I actually care about what our yard looks like.”

We wanted to laugh, but thought better of it. We have had these discussions before and we admit our wife is not one for the absurd perspective. We thought back on how, on another occasion, she tried to distract us from a football game we were watching on TV by saying that whatever it was she wanted us to do – it escapes now, as does the particulars of the football game – was “more important than that football game you're watching.”

Of course, we didn’t say it was more important. They are both equally unimportant, we offered at the time, with some satisfaction, though our wife was used to this kind of reasoning by now.

We snapped back to the present moment… our wife standing there, the big bushes looking on patiently and violets spread around. We heard the cicadas sounding off in the trees, oblivious to what was going on.

At this point, we picked up the clippers. It was a beautiful morning. The sun was bright overhead. The shade of the trees warded off its heat. The air smelled lightly of pine and wet earth, and mint, of which she had clipped in her efforts to get at the offending bush. The grass was moist with dew and cool beneath our bare feet. It was a very nice morning indeed.

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