So we each set up our plants on our respective windowsills, watered them, the whole nine yards. (Though given that we're talking about bean plant maintenance, that should maybe be "the whole two inches.") Eight weeks later, here they are:
Yeah, you can probably guess which one is mine. (Though I will have you know that I do own an identical armadillo statue, and it is being used for God's intended purpose, which is the holding of a souvenir beer bottle. I said don't judge us, dammit.)
As you can see, my pathetic plant has pasted itself to the glass, consumed by solar frustration. Hers sprawls out in an orgiastic display of chlorophilia, wantonly flashing its under-leaves like a celebutante stepping out of a Bentley.
And I've had a hard time looking at these little life-forms, because they keep reminding me of what I could have, should be, must get to doing. "Look," they say to me in their tiny leguminous voices, "it's not rocket science. If you put it in the sun, it will grow. The longer you leave it there, the quicker it will happen. If it's not in the sun, it's in the shade - there's no such thing as in-between."
I know, right - big talk from somebody whose major life goal apparently involves seducing the paper towels.
So anyway, there I was, my magic bean a flaccid symbol for my every personal failing.
Then I had a great chat with Jenny Martin (who's awesome enough that she probably shouldn't be talking to me, but does anyway.) Read
I don't blame my plant for not growing. It's living in a second-floor apartment with no east-west windows, so of course it's not getting enough light.
And yet it's so hard to forgive ourselves likewise. There's this notion that since everyone has the same number of hours in a day, we all have an equal opportunity to get things accomplished. We seem not to account for the fact that our little window-shelves don't all face the same way, that hours in a day aren't the same as daylight hours, that we aren't all issued identical quantities of fruitful, useable, potentially productive time.
So I've decided: I will continue to feel bad when I waste my own personal daylight - when I have the time and energy and choose to squander it on Nothing Especially.
But I will not be guilted by other people's success, and I will make damn sure that I don't get haughty about mine. All we can guarantee is that seasons do change, for better and for worse, and the success we've had to date says as much about the conditions we grew it in as it does about us personally.
Plus, you don't want to be the cheap tart flashing your axillary buds at every passing poinsettia, because oh my God, gauche.
The human bean is not a vegetable.