Around the swimming pool is usually a stone or
concrete bib. This space has a most apparent function. But
often this space becomes an anathema and amongst the genteel the habit is
to introduce clutter. Not with bouncing balls, hula-hoops and large
rubber ducks, rather with expensive and decorative accents that present
communion with the outdoors as lolling indolence. Then there is the
large imported flower pot.
Here, there are two kinds
of gardener. The sensible and wise man who digs, lifts and carries,
uttering only the occasional grunt. And the foolish man, who allows
himself to get sucked into the vortex of what I will call "imported
flower pot placement politics".
the right is the older man with the check book, and his new hair
style. On the left is his unnaturally young wife. He
reckoned four flower pots costing a thousand dollars each were
sufficient. She wanted an odd number, not three but five. And
this was a foot stamping moment in the great dialectic that is men and
For some reason gardeners know nothing about
furniture, or houses, or stock markets but are oracles when it comes to
flower pot placement. I had seen this quarrel coming. Swimming
pools defy budgeting. A hole in the ground containing clean water,
one might assume to be a straight forward matter. But when this hole
in the ground becomes an expression of personality, grief ensues.
Standing there on a hot Saturday
afternoon I became like Solomon reaching for a cabala. I
suggested that odd numbers represent the informal, and even numbers the
formal. Odd numbers were the organic, the free spirited and the new,
the balance of unevenness. Whereas even numbers represented the
geometry of order, reliability and those strands in thinking that describe
the keystone of stability and permanence. I rambled on and became
enthused by this insanity of words, and I still cringe at the memory of it.
His eyes glazed like a man in a coma, but
she listened intently. I appeared to make some sort of sense to
her. And by mid afternoon I was charged with acquiring six of the
largest Lantana standards I could find.
Had Heidegger been there, as a spider
mite on the Ornamental Cherry perhaps, he might have concluded the authentic
being is a constructed being, and that in the end we are all weeds.