Black Thumb Saga

There are some things a person like me just shouldn’t do- gardening is one of those things.

One night, this night, tonight in fact, I was home alone. Not very common, but it was the second night in a row and I was feeling the passive-aggressive housemate guilt of not having done dishes/vacuuming/cleaning/gardening/anything for a few days.

I thought- ‘Hey, Housemate isn’t home, and usually she knows what is what, but her plants are looking a bit tired and I think they could use a water.’ It was a thin shield of ‘see, I help out sometimes’, but I was feeling pretty good about it. So I go out, stick forward to destroy any spider webs, and turn on the hoses.

One of the few things I DO remember from Things Dad Taught Me 101 is that you should wait until it’s dark in summer before watering or the heat will cook all the things, so this was about 9:30 at night. I left it all on for a good half hour.

At 10:00 pm I paused Talladega Nights: the Ballad of Ricky Bobby just as the final race was about to begin, promising myself I’d be back in a jiffy.

Flushed from the first success, I casually ignored the warning bells in my brain telling me to turn on the lights, and ventured into the dark.

The first tap- all good.
The second – we’re on a roll.
The third? The tap comes apart in my hand, and before I can say ‘ohshi-’ the entire bloody water system explodes. 

I stumble, unable to scream, blank with disbelief, water cascading in my face- and the tap parts fling from my hand, into the great green unknown.

Have you ever felt that sinking in your stomach? The one that says, I really should have bought that torch that one time?

I have.

It took a good quarter hour to find one, as the water boiled up into the air, like my own personal Lake Burley Griffin fountain, only horribly on land and amongst our favourite pot plants (not the gardenia!!).

Once located, the greenery became a silvery other world, my hands buried in leaf matter, dirt and slugs as I foraged for bits. Even amongst my increasing panic, with my ankles buried in grass and an inch of mud, I felt a bit proud of the way I’d thought to hold the torch in my teeth to do this- but, Danni, who gives a sh*t? Find the bits! I think I was in shock.

I mean, though, really- what do tap parts look like anyway??

Another quarter hour goes by and I’m thinking ‘do I call Dad? How do I fix this??’ I end up finding a bit in one garden bed, some green tap-like cr*p at my feet, a golden whatsit beneath the strands of hose-

The parts, alien in their separate pieces, were haphazardly jumbled together. I still have a good sized pile of bits out there, mentally labelled ‘what the f*ck is this?’

The long shaft-looking thing, the only part with a thread (hear that, my Vis Arts degree coming in handy) was thrust into the fountain. Spears of water blinded me, slapped me in the face and drenched my clothes. At least the bugs and dirt on my hands were quickly done away with, but the tap, oh the tap, it was being a little b***.

And then, success- the thread connected, the shaft standing proud.

But now the water was simply redirected.

The sprinklers started up, their unrelenting rain now soaking me from an entirely new angle. Which mysterious bit was the turn-knob thing? I hazarded a guess, fitted the piece in, and voila- maybe not the most perfect tap (I mean, what are all these other bits for??), but the water was off and that was the main thing.

In the dark I stood, dripping, dirty, covered in mozzie bites, a mysterious something in my cleavage, crying. Was it relief? Was it lingering fear that the tap wouldn’t hold?

Oh F that, I am not good at literary cliches- it was undoubtedly both.

In short- (and for all those tl:dr peeps in my feed) do not garden. Especially in the dark. Especially at 10:00 pm. Especially when you are me. #blackthumbsaga

Danielle K. Day


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