The other day I was bragging to my coworker about my recent summer vacation to exotic Pittsburgh and glamorous Buffalo. For some reason she looked unimpressed.
“So do you have a fabulous summer vacation getaway planned?” I asked.
“I do! I’m going on a two week backpacking trip in Wyoming,” she announced gleefully.
“Ohhhh…wow!” I said, inwardly noting how her plans all of a sudden made schlepping around the mean streets of Pittsburgh and Buffalo in a zillion degree weather with a whole passel of kids seem all kinds of sexy and amazing.
“I hope you don’t get your period!” I blurted out loud. To cover for this gauche outburst, I explained to her that I’m not an outdoorsy kind of person…that I hate bugs and sweating and that I like cities and sidewalks and asphalt and air-conditioning and indoor plumbing.
“You’re an indoor cat!” she concluded.
It wasn’t always this way. When I was little I would spend hours on my back in the grass, gazing up at the clouds. I loved digging in the dirt and exploring the woods near our house. It was only when I got a little older that I realized that my natural habitat is actually a bug-free, centrally air-conditioned interior.
Maybe the sad truth of the matter is that I always crave what I can’t have. When I lived in New York City I became obsessed with the idea of having a garden. I would check out towering stacks of gardening books from the public library and would look longingly at the flower porn. My hard-core fantasies revolved around pleached linden allées, garden follies, and pergolas. When we first moved to Charlottesville, it seemed like all my dreams were going to come true. I threw myself wholeheartedly into the project of gardening…despite the fact that instead of soil we have pure red clay studded with rocks…despite the fact that there are exactly two and a half days out of the year when it’s actually pleasant to be outdoors…despite the fact that I can’t stand bugs.
I have come to my senses once again. For me, “to thine own self be true” means retreating to the Great Indoors. These days I’ve just about given up on gardening, only venturing out when absolutely necessary. When I weeded for just one afternoon last month, I ended up having to be on a course of antibiotics for Lyme Disease for three weeks. I got off lightly. My son was seriously ill with Lyme Disease for months.
Enough is enough. It’s time to move out of the woods and get closer to civilization. I scheduled a meeting with a realtor. Before she came to assess our property, I thought I should try once again to tackle the thicket of weeds that has overtaken what was once my garden. Believe me, the motivation to move was the only possible thing that could lure me back out into the scary outdoors. The result of that one lousy half hour of weeding is that I now have weeping poison ivy pustules all over my body.
This weekend when my husband and I were swanning around the magnificent 1000 acre Trump Winery I jokingly said to him, “Just think of all the mowing you’d have to do if we lived here.”
“Oh no,” he gently corrected me, “You’d have your entire staff of minions to do your bidding. Yes, I can just see you now as the Lady of the Manor giving your orders. That’s really what you were born to do.”
I chose to pretend that for once in his life he wasn’t being sarcastic. See, it’s not that I don’t like the outdoors, really. It’s just that I don’t have the adequate staff to make it worth my while…
Last night I didn’t have the heart to awaken the butler, who usually takes the dogs out for their last pee of the day. I took them out myself, and as I clutched myself uneasily, batting away gnats and listening to the toads croaking and the crickets chirping, I was startled by what sounded like someone knocking on our door. It turns out, it was a new neighbor dropping by to introduce himself:
Yep. It’s definitely time for this city kitty to find some new digs.