I have taken to (literally) pottering around the garden, the one place those who know and yet love me will never ever think to look for me. I wouldn’t even be caught dead outdoors, which would be a challenge when finding a burial plot for me, but that problem has been delegated to my very competent niece, who for some reason is greatly looking forward to planning my funeral. She even has the burgundy lipstick I requested at the ready.
But seriously, for a germaphobe like me, getting knee deep in mud was considered appalling. I’d only consider getting down and dirty, say if a BBQ rib eating contest was involved. Otherwise, bring on the Purell, I’m not touching anything. I hover around doors until someone opens them for me. Lately, however, I find myself dashing to the garden store instead of the mall. When did buying succulents ever seem more fun than buying shoes?
Make no mistake; I have not gone all Zen in the membrane. You won’t find me in the garden practicing Tai Chi and trying to find my inner peace with a cup of green tea. That, I assure you, will never be me. Not that there is anything wrong with it, but by order of my general clumsiness I avoid hot beverages and any activity that could require standing on one foot.
Even walking is a challenge for me. When I was scouting for a suitable plot for my father’s remains, I was so busy trying to read tombstones to make sure he would have some suitable company that I tripped and fell into poor Mrs. Amarasuriya's grave.
The poor soul probably had no idea a complete stranger of epic proportions was planning on joining her into the ever after, and I’m sure she was not pleased to make my acquaintance. My life is a series of such graceful moments and bad decisions. Perhaps that should be the title of my autobiography.
My latest lapse in judgment was just last month, when we finally took a vacation to San Diego. We went to the zoo, which appeared so large, it should probably have its own time zone, if not zip code. Lanes, my dizzyingly adorable seven year old, was fascinated by the sky tram that ran from one end of the premise to the other. She begged and pleaded to go for a ride on it, but my sensible spouse, P, refused to join her.
He pretended he was tired, but the truth is that he is petrified of heights. I was not so sure myself, but when it comes to Lanes, I do tend to give in to her whims and fancies. P calls that ‘getting into situations’. Plus, I wanted to encourage her adventurous spirit. She is growing up fast and soon enough common sense, self-preservation, and my nagging high pitched voice in her head will make her think twice about having fun.
I reluctantly agreed, thinking it’s no big deal. In fact, it seemed like a fun mother-daughter activity. All I had to do was sit, and I know I’m plenty good at that, as the impression of my rear on our couch could prove. However, when the tram moved, sashayed and made rickety noises, I realized we were sitting in bucket, with no seat belt, no helmet, with only a pole in the middle to hold onto.
We were jet propelled across the sky, elements in our faces, on a glorified pail that swayed with the wind. Up, up, up and up we went, as high as the eagles fly. Lanes squealed with delight. I noticed the elephants below looked like ants when I deigned to look out. At that point I made the executive decision to not look out. Ever.
I was swearing in my head with every cool breeze that tauntingly nudged the bucket, so I clung onto the pole for dear life. I began reprimanding myself for taking my one and only child, after all I only have a heir, not a spare, on this ride.
I started saying LOTS of prayers, much to Lanes’ confusion. She didn’t know why I chose this very moment to have a religious revival. I made a promise that I would never go on that ride again if only we got off safely. The last person to get on the last life raft of the Titanic probably had the same expression I did when I got off.