I’m in the middle of updating the seven “rules” of the 2012 Hampton Victory Garden’s “tenant agreement.” Shockingly, two of the seven “rules” involve liability and the other five are very general suggestions. The hardest “rules” in any project or endeavor, though, are the hardest to put into words. Emily Post tried for years to codify some of life’s most difficult and delicate issues. In the Hampton Victory Garden, our codification of The Golden Rule (a.k.a. “play nice”) reads:
“As this is a community project, an attitude and posture of common good must be practiced at all times. Each tenant will be responsible for maintaining their garden as well as the walkways around their garden plots. All of the pathways must be cleared of weeds, rocks and other debris.”
For the last two winters, I’ve filled some of my idle Saturdays by attending live, high-definition transmissions from the Metropolitan Opera. It’s a whole different kind of “Live from New York,” in movie theaters around the world, and even in places like Portsmouth, NH and Brunswick, ME. “Going to the opera at the movies” can be exciting, entertaining and educational. It can also be unpleasant.
It was a difficult crowd at the Maine movie theatre I attended on Saturday. I would never have thought so many opera lovers would need to wear headlamps for pre-performance book reading. I was quite happy to sit in the darkness and relax for a minute, but it was impossible to do so, what with the inside of the theatre lit up like a coal mine. (I know you won’t believe me, but I’ve been in a coal mine; when I say “lit up like a coal mine” I know what I’m talking about.) My friend and I tried to be polite and well-behaved. We tried to shield our eyes from the blinding lumens. Unfortunately, we almost got into a fist fight with a couple sitting next to us because of their refusal to turn off the high beams when the opera started. It sure did dampen my opera experience and it got me to thinking about how difficult it is to get along with people in close quarters.
The ugliness of the opera donnybrook reminded me of how nicely community gardeners generally get along, even when it’s “ Peak Summer.” My squash runs into your garden and your weeds creep down my pathway. You water your tomatoes and the hose crushes my lettuce a little bit. Accidents happen but things bounce back. We do the best we can to garden together peacefully. Thank goodness. The only diva antics are the mysterious amaranth plants that occasionally pop up for an aria.
Just in case, though, I’m thinking about adding this new rule:
8. No headlamps in the Hampton Victory Garden. Ever.
Have you been blinded by someone’s dazzling brightness lately?