Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Unbearable Likeness of Beans

See, my sister and I each got a bean plant as a present from our mom in January.  They're "magic beans", like you can order from a catalogue, that have a little message branded onto the seed pod.  Don't judge us.

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 INTERN's Real Actual Hilary's "Writing is A Job Like Any Other, and Other Angry Ghosts."  Followed that up with an e-mail from a friend of mine, who is making a veritable Charge of the Light Brigade against a whole slew of health problems and striving like the dickens for standard human functionality.  Got to thinking some more.

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.


  1. Hello Tex,

    I wanted to wish you luck with the A to Z Challenge. I will be following along throughout it :) I like your site's design

    Wanted to present you with a small award over at my blog: The Cryton Chronicles : An Awards Ceremony I hope you will accept it!

    Your name sounds very hero-like!

    Jak at The Cryton Chronicles & Dreams in the Shade of Ink

    1. Hey Jak - thanks so much for stopping by! It is so awesome to meet another writer (and one who's built up an immunity to Frosted Flakes and OJ worthy of the Princess Bride... it's an honor, sir!)

      Needless to say, I would love to accept the award! My only concern is that I won't have time to do it justice just yet - I am really flat-out with trying to get my posts ready for this month, and I don't want to be one of Those People who suck up the sunlight and neglect to pass it on.

      I tell you what: if I make it through this whole A to Z thing, I am going to take that trophy two-handed and streak across the stage, hollering benedictions until security comes to escort me out. It will be a terrific motivation to stay on track this month!

      Looking forward to following your epic adventures in the meantime - whatever you do, don't make eye contact with that damn goat...!

  2. You're funny, Tex. I don't think I get enough sunlight. Good luck with the A to Z. It hasn't even begun and you're already getting awards. Damn.

  3. I don't think you do either - but the whole point is that you can't be too hard on yourself about that. (You in particular have had a pantload of Circumstances over the past couple of months!)

    I don't know what I've done to deserve an award, but I'll take it! Come to think of it, I should charge people to touch me. Don't you want to touch me?