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The woman next door keeps telling her dog to sit and he barks at her. She persists. He barks more. She holds up a tennis ball. He barks. Finally, she throws the ball and he runs after it. But he doesn’t bring it back. He’s done with the game. It’s too complex.

Like anytime you try to bend a creature to your will.

Basically, I think people try too hard to impose themselves on other people and creatures when they should just live their lives and encourage people to follow if so inclined. Like why not throw the ball for the dog on the dog’s terms? Because it would screw up our affection for a constant power differential.

I care not about the woman next door. Well, I do like it when showing off is unsuccessful. And I always like it when the underdog pretty much says ‘fuck you and your game’ so in that sense I guess I care or I notice the woman next door.

It is from my perch on the back porch that I know about the power struggle yonder. I am here with the 10,000 birds that live in my trees, looking at what I know will be my most successful gardening effort of the year, namely, the planting of thyme, tarragon and cilantro in pots that will sit on the porch railing all summer. This is to be my crop. It’s better to know that now than to suffer the whole summer with false hope, although, tomorrow, I will plant tomatoes and peppers, kale and beans in a Victory Garden I bought a few years ago in a massive fit of expectation.  I am addicted to the idea of things – having a vegetable garden, walking thirty miles, getting another degree online.  I like to register for things, send checks and then figure out ways to avoid having to do them.

So, tomorrow, because I love the idea of plants and admire people who are gardeners, I’ll water the geraniums and petunias in my pots and hanging baskets and tackle, for the 30th year, the intrepid, soul-killing Creeping Charlie strangling my beloved Irises. I’ll think about my parents when I do this, my father with his roses and my mother with the pansies I would buy her on Mother’s Day, and I will wonder, yet again, why they never had to face Creeping Charles like I do. I blame them that I am unprepared, inadequate to the task.

In the summer, I often move my work to the back porch. I answer emails, write proposals, fiddle, bill people. It is the part of being a consultant I like the best – that no one ever really knows where I am unless I am standing in front of them. Sometimes I am at Target. Sometimes I am on my back porch. I wanted a life like Jim Rockford and that’s pretty much what I have. Not a trailer on the beach but a house with a porch and a lot of birds. I could do worse.