Horrified Delight

May 5, 2010

I don’t really know of a word in the english language that means ‘horrified delight’ or ‘delighted horror’ but I know what I felt when I peered into the sink the other day and noticed something green.  Not just in the sink.  Growing. In the sink.  [shudder]

I eat a mostly vegetarian diet and bits of greenery are no strangers to my sink. However, upon closer inspection, this was not a leftover bit of lettuce, arugula or cilantro; it was a tiny, perfectly erect little seedling, actually growing out of one of the creases in the rubber garbage disposal splash guard. I was…horrified! I had done the dishes the day before, even run the disposal. Yet, I was also delighted! Living in a third floor condo with no ground to cultivate, this was the closest thing to hydroponic gardening I’ve ever achieved–even if inadvertantly.

I carefully plucked the little plant up and away from this unlikeliest of nurseries millimeters away from the impartial jaws of industrial efficiency…horrified to see such a healthy network of little roots finding purchase in my usually spotless kitchen.  Yet delighted to see that it was a cantaloupe seed; tenacious little rascal.

I have since run the disposal again, but not before planting the newest member of my ever-growing green family in a flower pot with a flourishing hypoestes phyllostachya (polka dot plant) and a calamondin (miniature orange plant); today, it opened its leaves wide and stood just a bit taller.  I am only delighted about that.

Despite the fact that my cleanliness of kitchen sink did not seem to warrant the inaugural spawnling of an indoor fruit garden, (and there’s that little horrified feeling springing up again, kind of like a tiny seedling out of one’s garbage disposal), it was tremendously ironic on several levels.

Concurrent with what I will now choose to refer to as the Sink Incident of Great Horror (SIGH), I had begun intentionally neglecting the vacuum.  Working under a big deadline has a way of making certain decisions for you, and while housekeeping might seem an unlikely form of procrastination, I will confess that throughout my adult life, keeping things perpetually neat and clean has come at the high cost of much time that could have been spent more creatively.  

The ultimate delight of the little cantelope plant was its vivid lesson in dazzling chloroform that some things will never grow until I let go…reminding me as well of an observation I read years ago in a history text by AJP Taylor that ‘error can often be fertile, but perfection is always sterile. ‘ 

 Am I willing to let my house get a little funky so I can practice bass, write a new song? Draw a picture, take some photographs? Spend time with family or friends I’ve not visited in a while?

Teach me to number my days aright, that I may gain a heart of wisdom.