There Are Two Kinds of People in This World.
What? What?! This statement is only a preamble to nonsense. Whenever anybody upchucks such tripe, I stop listening and think about my tuberoses. Dividing the difficulty of seven billion people into two is obviously silly; however, dividing tuberoses is not silly and should be done annually to promote better flowering.
If there really are Two Kinds of People in This World these, these are possibly (a) people who believe that There Are Two Kinds of People in This World and (b) sensible people who don’t. Apart from this, it’s fairly pointless to go about popping humanity into colossal one-size-fits-half categories. The crushing insensitivity of such dualism aside, the practise is bent. People are terribly confusing and any hope we have to understand them exceeds this either/or solution and will always be upturned by lunchtime.
Clearly, there are more than Two Kinds of People in This World. However, on occasion, I do understand the temptation to bisect. This has a little to do with my tuberoses. And my grevilleas. And my growing fascination for mulch. Let me explain.
My mother has long held that There Are Two Kinds of People in This World. There are those, like herself, who have “interests”. And then, there are those, like myself and my father, who have “obsessions”. Given the current state of my garden, which is exemplary, and my growing debt to the garden super-store down the road, I fear she may have a point.
Although I can cultivate native lilies, I cannot cultivate moderation. When I took the decision some months ago to tart up the garden, I also took myself into territory that could reasonably be called obsessive. This is evidenced by the dirt beneath my fingernails, the fact that Sharon at the mail-order nursery now recognises my number and greeted me yesterday with “don’t you think you’ve got enough clivia?” and the tough love speech I delivered yesterday to my hoya. “I don’t CARE if you prefer tropical conditions,” I said to the waxy little leaves, “YOU WILL LEARN TO CLIMB BITCH.”
A kind person would call the hours I spend in the garden a proof of passion. Well, it’s not a passion. It’s more like a dermatitis that burns and grows the more it’s scratched.
It has always been so. For some of us, a hobby is a lovely way to pass the time. For others, it quickly curdles in the sun of our curiosity until it becomes a disease.
I have seen this problem take hold before. When I was fourteen, I was not content to enjoy Scrabble. Instead, I became a monster. Having memorised every two and three letter word in English and American standard dictionaries, I went to tournaments and dreamed of forming words like “quixotic” on a Triple Word square. Less of a hobby and more of a lexical heroin, Scrabble dominated my days and gave me little in return; save for the knowledge that an “eft” is a juvenile newt and is worth six points. I gave up cold when I found myself dreaming of the eft and the ai (a sloth with three toes and two points) and am no longer a tile-carrying Scrabbler.
And now, I am a gardener.
To be gifted of such focus, in this case on ficus, is a burden. On the upside, I never have cause to buy cut flowers or salad greens. On the downside, I smell of manure (mostly sheep; sometimes chook) and cannot maintain adult conversation that does not have soil condition as its focus.
There Are Two Kinds of People in This World. There are those with hobbies and there are those who bury themselves in sheep poo.
Written for the goodly folk of the Big Issue.