Yet another trip to yet another garden center. And always the range of reactions I get while riding home. To wit: I don’t have an SUV or a minivan. I’m not picking up anise hissop while lugging 17 children around. Nor am I handicapped (though I am quite lazy). So I’m perfectly capable of lugging my pretties around on my trusty blue steed. And I do – and then, for reasons I can’t understand because I’m part of the spectacle but can’t see the spectacle – I get Children shouting delightedly, Car honks (both angry and supportive – depending on how close and the hand gestures that accompany them), Other Cyclists catching up to compliment me on my “green” bike, Hipsters hallooing from their carefully arranged tableau on Logan Boulevard… it’s really. Quite. Loud.
Unconsciously, it seems I’ve created something kind of political by filling my bike with flowers. How did this happen? Is landscaping supposed to be the domain of the suburban doyenne? A way of forcing nature to assist in keeping up with the Jones’? … a twisted, ruthless lawn-off for bored housewives betwixt pot roasts and bouts of martini-sloshed infidelity?! (Maybe I should lay off Peyton Place and Mad Men for awhile… ahem.) Not for the city-dweller, not for the young or hip. Certainly not for the gritty environs of Logan Square, right? (“Gritty”. Riiight.)
And here I come, right up the middle of the hipster highway, peddling my chubby ass off, laden with pretty blossoms. People think it’s some kind of subversive performance art. People think I’m like a one-woman parade. And then they cheer! Yay! Right back atcha! But I feel like a fraud.
Why? I’m just a chick with a bike and some plants. I don’t need/want a car. At this stage of near-terminal unemployment, I can’t afford a car. I always wanted a house. You know why? Because I always wanted a garden – but I prefer to live in a city. And that’s… cool, right? Not immediately contradictory if you’re okay with a small garden. And there’s plenty of “urban farmers/homesteaders/anachronistic agriculturalists” out there, many right here in Logan Square, which is rapidly moving from “Little San Juan” to “Freak Central”, which is why I usually feel so at home. Am I breaking some commandment by planting decorative plants? (Looks around) Nope. Is there some unwritten rule about hair-shirted, carbon-footprint-free activists that goes something like “Thou shalt only grow heirloom tomatoes…. watered with Thine own tears”? No one’s mentioned it. Although – I DO grow heirloom tomatoes, just to be safe…
But as much as I enjoy most of the attention I get on my weekly plant-recruitment trips, the energy behind it has me curious. When I’m rolling through the ‘hood on a ride much like the one above (er… exactly like the one above, that’s my bike covered in flowers I bought this week) what is it that you see? A total dork? A particularly lame “green warrior” with an unfortunate attention-whore problem? A sweaty chick who’s saving a lot of money on gas and insurance?
Or is it just that Logan Square is the yellingest bunch of yellers in Yellytown history? YES, I SEE YOU! YES, THEY’RE PLANTS ON A BIKE! THANKS! OKAY, YOU TOO!