When I was sixteen I wanted to be a hippie like Jenny from Forrest Gump except without the domestic violence and heroin later on. Mostly I wanted her outfits, and to move to San Francisco and write poetry and wear flowers in my hair. It was all very awkward and embarrassing and I discovered that I need to actually brush my hair for it to not look like a nest for many small rodents, I don’t like Birkenstocks, and meat can be really, really tasty.
The hangover from that badly dressed time is a fantasy in which I am able to live in a cozy little house on a large plot of land (overlooking the ocean and not far from the water slides) and all my friends are there and we have goats and kittens and grow our own tomatoes and make cheese and bake bread and do artistic things in the sunshine. There is a permanent rainbow. And we never have to buy anything.
So when Nick’s friend from work, Kerri, offered us a plot in her garden, I imagined us becoming completely self-sufficient, most likely by September. In my mind, we were sitting in dirt, eating perfect vegetables fresh from the ground, and singing something by, like, Jefferson Airplane or Iron and Wine or something. In the background, the kittens and baby goats were frolicking, and the escalating chords of a movie soundtrack were bringing us to that revelatory moment, the climax of our entire lives, and it was carrots.
I went to the garden shop and bought seven kinds of seeds, and then we went to Kerri’s house and she showed us to our plot, which was bigger than I anticipated. She said it would take us a little over an hour, but thanks to Nick and my two to three hilarious jokes about Nick’s instincts for gardening stemming from his Dutch heritage, we had the whole thing weeded and turned and hoed in under an hour. We made a path of bricks, and then laid what was probably too many seeds in tidy little rows marked with popsicle sticks.