The Tree that escaped a most certain death

Over the last few days I have been doing my best to remember to snap a photo of the Tree that escaped a most certain death. The few times I did remember it was not a convenient time; simply meaning there were people sitting in front of the tree and it would be rude to ask them to move.

However there was one noteworthy time when I was actually scared away by an eyeball.

To be exact it was the right eyeball that had me skittering out of the coffee shop amid a burst of laughter – I tried, I promise, I tried to hide my smile and the tittering but I just couldn’t help myself.

You may be wondering how just one eyeball would frighten me so!

The one day the tree was not obstructed by people I cleverly arranged myself with the intention of snapping a photo when I noticed a customer was sitting facing me with a book up to his face. I glanced towards him to make sure I wasn’t disturbing his reading when I was introduced to the right eyeball.

Yes he had the book up in front of his face but what I saw upon closer inspection was that his right eyeball was peering out the side of the book, watching me. It can only be assumed that he was using the book as a ruse, a pretense in order not to be caught staring. I do not think I am that interesting of a person to warrant staring but I dare say as I crouched down and performed a mini Cirque-Du-Soleil manoeuver in an effort to capture not only a photograph but a masterpiece of a saved tree inside a light green bucket, I admit staring may have been his only option.

The eyeball frightened me and in the time it took me to unwind myself and set my spine straight, the humour of this situation overwhelmed me. As I tippy-toed past the eyeball with the book on my way out of the shop without a photograh, I could not suppress my grin.

I will do my best to describe the tree and the bucket since it is now just too embarrasing for me to attempt another photo session of the tree with it’s bucket.

Now before you get carried away thinking that it’s only the male gender that talk and stare at me while I am out and about, I’d like to share with you one of my favourite stories.

It is admittedly more eventful when women strike up conversation because there is usually a point to the exercise that doesn’t involve trying to get a number.

One fine day a few months ago while minding my own business I was jolted back to reality by a woman standing over me madly shouting and waving her arms, “It’s not getting enough water.”

The lady is pointing to the tree in the corner by the rest rooms.

I grunt at her like a man and she continues.

“It needs a pan underneath it. It needs to be pulling water up from the bottom through the roots.”

She stops chattering and looks over at me to see if I am listening. I can see her out of the corner of my eye. I do not want to get involved but she is doing her best to get me involved.

She rustles in her giant black pleather bag eventually retrieving, what I can only imagine is her trusty measuring tape. She precisely measures the depth and width of the bottom of the plant and jots down the dimensions in her little note pad.

It is a rainy day and my dear lady is dressed in an oversized rain coat, rubber boots, her hair is disheveled and she has a black and white zebra print umbrella as extra protection from the elements. She mentions something about the rainy weather and I miss hearing exactly what it is. Getting an unsatisfactory response, she turns on her heal and marches out of the shop.

Clearly on a mission.

Within 10 minutes she is back and in her hands a large light green plastic tub – it must be two and half feet deep and at least two feet wide. She shuffles over to the despairing tree and sets her bucket down to see if it is a suitable find.

I know where this is going. Today I do not want to be helpful. I want to stay sitting in my comfy chair.

“I’ve been looking for weeks for a pan that will fit the tree. I’ve bought four already that I’ve had to take back. The tree is so big and it is going to die if it doesn’t start feeding from the bottom – die.”

I am getting the point but she isn’t done yet. It doesn’t matter that this is not my tree and we are not in my establishment. It matters only that I am a customer, I am taking up space and this in itself demands my attention, my care!

“Look at the leaves, they need misting.”

I am no gardener. After my ex and I broke up all the plants in my house went to waste! He was the diligent one watering, caring for them each time he visited. He’d even visit my plants in my absence and I secretly believe he scheduled sleep over’s at my house to keep vigil on them! I know this because when I’d arrive home after days away there was that telltale sign; my bed was miraculously made and I know I left my comforter in the middle of my bed, in disarray.

Pointing out the leaves to me was doing no good. I am blind when it comes to plants and leaves.

“I’ll need to lift the tree up to get this deep bucket underneath”. She moves the chair that’s blocking the tree out of the way and starts uncomfortably shifting the tree.

The tree does look pretty heavy from where I sit and I make no attempt to interject in her endeavor of shifting the furniture around to make the tree more accessible. I know if I stand up she will willingly delegate the entire task to me. I know, I have met women before just like her.

I wonder if the owner knows what’s going on. I envision them happening upon me while I try to lift the tree into this new pot in order to satisfy the flapping woman. I can see me taking all the blame when the tree falls over because I can’t handle the weight. I don’t know why I’d try to do it on my own in the first place, but I know my nature and I would try. It’s really a most potentially fatal flaw!

I successfully ignore the woman and she leaves the pot, the tree and me in peace.

She is back in 5 minutes. She’s found the owner and a second man.

She has convinced them of her critical mission.

They lift the heavy tree and place it gently in the new light green tub.

Three months later the tree looks happy to me.

It is safe to say the tree narrowly avoided an imminent and catastrophic death and now has a light green tub to keep it warm and invigorated.

Peter the coffee shop prophet

It’s Saturday and the coffee patio is full with people. There is a couple, a man engrossed in his novel, a women who is serene with her long salt and pepper hair floating in the wind, the two knitting club women who are whispering (They understand that to have a private conversation in public, one must whisper, their whispering makes me smile), and rounding it out is the man with his bulldog.

The couple is sitting up against the wall chattering away about nothing in particular. She’s young and exuding excitement towards life. He’s slightly older, listening to her random chatter about a vegetable platter she is planning on taking with them to an afternoon barbeque. I am not sure if she’s really interested in the carrots, celery and plum tomato’s that they have left over in the fridge or if she just wants to make noise and be noticed. I can’t decide. She is being noticed, maybe not heard, but certainly noticed.

The sun is warm and it feels good on my shoulders. I am sitting at a table reading the news when two gentleman arrive – together but not together. The tall blonde suggests to the older man that he is willing to share his table. I notice that the seat the blonde is offering the older man is in the sun and without any warning I am blurt out,

“You are also welcome to share my table and sit in the shade if that is what you prefer.”

What am I thinking!! Both men turn to look at me in amusement? or sheer shock that I opened my mouth?

“Well thank you, I’d like very much to share your table.”

Oh boy. Well what can I do now? Leave? That’s silly. I’ll manage the situation that I created for myself.

“I must warn you that I might laugh every once in a while.” I know people find this uncomfortable, my random laughing at what I am reading, thinking or seeing and it is just easier to be upfront about this mild turrets-like syndrome. I’ve tried my best to be serious, to be sterner with myself while out in public, but it hasn’t worked so far.

“What do you mean by laughing.”

I don’t respond and go on reading my newspaper. We sit in silence and I ignore him.

He has a backpack and he likes riding his bike in the sunshine. So why is he sitting under the shade? Who knows, I’ll go out on a limb here but he probably wants to chit chat.

He notices the bulldog on the patio and turns around and strikes up a conversation with his owner, a distinguished older gentleman with shocking white hair.

“Winston? I was thinking that would be a good name for your dog.”

“Ya, he’s waiting for his mommy”

“I used to have a sheep dog, so much grooming. I had to put it down because she had hip dysplasia. I guess it’s pretty common in that lot of animals”

“Ya, I think its pretty common for all dogs now-a-days.”

“Hmmm”

He is getting his nerve up, striking up conversation with people around him and he turns to me,

“What’s your name?”

“Dawn” I lie. Well it is a thin lie. It’s half the truth so I can live with myself. I didn’t say something like Jane, Francine, Nicole or better yet Joan Jett!

“I am Peter”

“Good to meet you Peter.”

“I am one of the original disciples, a prophet, you know that? Just don’t ask my mother about it”

No I don’t plan to really get that friendly with you, friendly enough to meet your mother who I assume is likely in her 80’s.

I laugh but don’t look up, I haven’t decided yet if this man is crazy. I mean he looks well adjusted, he is reading a copy of the Globe and Mail, he wears sunglasses, he is appropriately clothed for the weather and he sports a watch with a black leather band with a gold rimmed face.

Peter the prophet does not have a lot of patience and eventually leaves out of disappointment at the lack of conversation.

I kindly wish him a nice afternoon to which he replied, “Yes and good day to you, and perhaps you’ll be more chatty this afternoon.”

Perhaps, perhaps not. I want to introduce him to the girl in the blue dress, she has lots of things to say and perhaps he’d have enjoyed her conversation about vegetable platters.