If there is one thing I have learned during the last month of writing blog posts, it is that my problematic relationship with alcohol is somehow related to the fact that the world is soon going to end. And I have learned that everything I do is to try to prevent Armageddon. Such as quitting alcohol. A mild exaggeration perhaps but, as they say, there is never smoke without a fire.
Today was no exception. It has been a really beautiful and sunny day that forced the suburban population into their gardens from the break of dawn. I woke up quite early and was enjoying a moment of meditative reading in the living room. Then I inadvertently cast a sideway glance out the window and immediately saw my wife in the garden. Bathed in sun. She was clearly engaged in a serious gardening activity. It seemed to involve some plants of sorts. My immediate thought was that I was probably supposed to go out into the garden and enjoy the sun. Honestly, I was actually quite comfortable sitting in the living room with my frothy coffee and the Sunday newspaper but I figured that I was not doing the right thing. As I always do in those situations, I briefly thought of my childhood weekends at my father’s place. He loved to work in the garden. I loved to read in my room. The result being, of course, that I would leave Spiderman on my bed and join my father in the garden.
So this morning I left my coffee and joined my wife in the garden. Not because I felt obligated or that she would prefer to see my in my garden attire ready to move some plants from one garden bed to the other. But my impression was that someone like me was probably supposed to go out and enjoy the sun. So I did.
Being in the garden on a Sunday has to involve some kind of activity. It wasn’t hot enough for me just to throw myself on the sunlounger and continue inhaling coffee and light Sunday news. That’s when I decided to clean the stone wall in the back of the garden.
During recent years, the stone wall has become my evil companion. It is the one thing that always reminds me that the world will, indeed, come to an end. It was built by the previous owner of the house and is really a work of art. Our garden is located on a sloping hill and the previous owner apparently liked Italian-inspired gardens so he laid out several plateaus separated by stone walls. But the problem is that the stone walls don't simply continue being the scenic center pieces of the garden. All kinds of plants started to grow between the stones and within a few years, the stone walls were overgrown by grass and other plant-like things. I didn’t like that. Not that I have anything against plants. Or grass, for that matter. But I was pretty sure that the stone walls were not supposed to look like that.
What to do? I tried several times in vain to persuade my wife to clean the stone wall in the back end of the garden. But since the stone walls didn’t constitute a problem to her, she claimed that it was my own problem. That probably makes sense but I thought it was unreasonable.
My next strategy was to hire a gardener. I put an add in the local newspaper and was fortunate enough to find an elderly gentleman. Who absolutely refused to clean the stone wall. In fact, he only reluctantly agreed to do any work in the garden at all. I think he ended up mowing the lawn a few times before he quit. And he definitively didn’t do what I hired him to, which was to clean the stone wall.
Since then, I starting getting a weird feeling that the stone wall was mocking me. I rarely - if ever! - went up into that part of the garden but I could feel that it was busy getting overgrown. Just to ridicule me. And who knew what would happen next? Maybe the wall would collapse and then we would have chaos at our door step for sure!
So today, I manned up. I took responsibility and I cleaned the stone wall. I googled ‘how to clean a stone wall’ but I didn’t really find anything that I could use. So I acted in the spur of the moment and simply did it. In total, it took me less than two hours to clean the entire stone wall. That also includes a nice lunch sitting in the sun with my wife.
So the moral of the story is probably that Evil can be beaten. Rather than wait for Armageddon to knock on your door, it is advisable to jump into chaos and do what you can to buy yourself some time before the inevitable doomsday.