Monday, March 17, 2008

Not Drunk Enough


I don't believe I'm going to be able to make it in to work today. It just wouldn't be right. I need to be available at home to help the Irish celebrate today. Post-Glacial Ireland never had snakes, but every year people not even from there celebrate this guy for driving them off by drinking heavily and wearing offensive shirts. How do I get a gig like that?

Anyway, no drive into the city for me. And since I'm not driving . . . I'm loading my coffee with four kinds of liquor. Go, Ireland!


Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night paralyzed by the grim thought that I'm getting used to living in the suburbs. I like to pretend that I'm not living here by choice but as part of the Witness Protection Program or something, but even that self-induced delusion is starting to be harder and harder to mentally keep in place.

We planted crepe myrtles along the fence in the backyard. I resisted for a couple of years and then someone showed me the Harris County regulation requiring that every home have at least a dozen of them. They seem hardy enough to put up with the complete lack of care which I supply, and we have entered into an uneasy truce where I stay out of their personal space and they just do their thing.

Last year I started to notice some new growth from the fence at the back of the yard. Some viney thing was growing up from the fence and climbing all over the crepe myrtles in the corner. I'm okay with nature, but as the season progressed I began to resent our neighbor and his demon vine. I know that it isn't good for our trees and the plant (whatever it is) is coating their fence and whatever is just on that side of it. I say that because I suspect the demon vine has eaten it. And their dog has been silent lately. Anyway.

From the back door of our house I've watched the progress of this ugly dark green plant and I've plotted. A few cuts late at night with a saw would sever the woody tendrils coming over the fence and free our trees. I also knew that I would need to strategically cut it off our crepe myrtles so that they won't die. Sadly, this plan has stayed in the "seething conspiracy" stage for almost a full year. My execution has been delayed by my overpowering feelings of love for all life and apathy.  

On Saturday, I was resolved to "take care of it". The vine had grown over the fence and completely covered the plants on our side of it. It was out of hand and ugly and destructive and if my neighbor didn't like my killing it they should take some action to keep it on their side of the fence.

Hedge clippers in hand, I approached the thing. Up close, it was far worse that I'd thought. The vines were thick and knotty and wrapped completely around most of the branches on our trees. At least I could identify them easily to know which ones to cut.

My eyes traced the vines from our tree to where they crossed the fence and I stepped over to cut our way to freedom. Stepping closer revealed even more of this vine, crouched like a predatory animal behind our fig tree.

Again, I silently cursed our neighbor and his lax yard work. These are the stresses people suffer in the suburbs. Don't mock.

I traced more vines, thicker vines, through the unruly tangle back there. A few strategic cuts would kill the whole thing on our side of the fence and I could clean it up after the thing dried.

The vine itself came over the fence in at least six separate places before sprawling downward and across to our trees. The vines that headed down the fence crossed each other a number of times and then disappeared into the ground on our side of the fence. Oddly, they seemed to thicken down there, too.

Honestly, it took me a second to process.

I checked again, but the plant was definitely rooted on our side of the fence, and far enough on our side that it doesn't come from some runner or something. Yep. Ours.

Our plant is choking our trees, crushing the neighbor's fence, and probably ate their dog.

On the other hand, up close the plant is kind of pretty.

I decided to leave it alone for another season. 

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