Enemy Mine

To quote a certain incompletely deceased peasant from a classic Python film, “I’m not dead yet.”

It’s been an absolutely harrowing month for Spouse and I, work wise.  Ten or eleven hour days are the norm, work is still being brought home nonetheless, and neither of us feels as though we are keeping up with the incoming flow.  We are North Atlantic swimmers treading water in our work, wondering what’s going to get us first – hypothermia, drowning or the sharks.   Obviously, one specific casualty of all the hours spent working, going to work, coming home from work, trying to get work out of our minds and – my favourite – resting up so we can work some more is that this little Internet thingy has been somewhat orphaned, as my time in cyberspace has been more or less non-existent over the last few weeks.   I ask your patience, those of you who are still dropping by here occasionally despite the persistent silence.  I am told that there will come a time when I get my life back.    I promise that when this happens, I’ll include y’all in it via this here web thingy.  In the meantime, if I am going to live the life of a shipwrecked sailor, I have decided that – at work, anyway – it behooves me to speak and act in the manner of  Robert Shaw as “Quint” in the movie Jaws.  A rousing chorus of “Farewell and Adieu” ought to spice up the dreary old office somewhat, I should think.   At the present time, however, I choose not to adopt either the tonsorial or sartorial fashion of my role model.  I’ll keep you posted.

So work has been intruding into my life, and many of my projects and pastimes have had to sit on the shelf.  The Nation’s chores, however, will not be put off.  In particular, there is a vast area of fertile garden (cleared in October, blogged about in this post, another entry that begins with an excuse about why I have not been blogging – sigh) around the grounds that requires tending.  We know the garden is fertile because there is an ample amount – I believe the metric system term is “a shitload” – of this stuff growing in it:


Garlic mustard, before the slaughter of April 2009

It’s garlic mustard or Alliaria petiolata, and our garden is currently populated about 80% by volume with the stuff.   From the linked article, I learned that it’s not native to our part of the world, having been brought to North America by European settlers.  The same informative article also tells me that each little plant will produce between 150 and 850 seeds, and that each of these seeds can remain “viable” (which is geek-speak for “growing like a motherfucker in your garden”) for FIVE YEARS.  Thanks a lot for this little gift, pioneers!  I guess you just forgot to bring along giant bowls of ebola virus and some barrels full of testicle-attacking poisonous reptiles too.

Anyway, as I stood in the middle of what is supposed to be a flower bed looking around at our bumper crop of this invasive little species, it occurred to me that – had I closed my eyes for a moment and just inhaled the pungent aroma –  I might have mistakenly believed myself to be standing knee deep in a bowl of that butter they give you with escargot.  Um, I think it’s called “garlic butter.”

Okay, so my writing chops are a little rusty.

My mission, assigned to me by the Juniorvanian Minister of Natural Resources (Spouse), was a delicate, highly technical and intricate operation;  it was a job tailor-made for me, as it demanded inexhaustible stores of careful patience, an attribute for which I am reknowned across the very width and breadth of the world.  Ahem.  My job was this:  take a whippersnapper to all that shit, and cut the little fuckers back to the stone age.   In about the amount of time it takes to clip a rechargeable battery to a battery operated weed-whacker,  I became the Genghis Khan of the garlic mustard civilization.   In this way, I gardened in a genocidal rage for perhaps an hour, at which time the indiscriminate slaughter was halted a battery recharge (the weed-whacker’s, not mine).   I resumed the butchery after tea.

By day’s end, I had laid waste to a significant number of the blighters, at the expense of only one minor casualty for our side:  a stiff and crampy trigger finger.  War is hell.  For the garlic mustard – for now, anyway – Black & Decker was their Waterloo;  but tomorrow is another day, and as an afternoon rain approached and I retreated to the relative safety of the living room to care for the wounded (with an ice-cold root beer and Game 6 of the Flyers-Penguins series), I cast a nervous glance out the window to the Eastern Front.  Reinforcements are massing under the spruce trees out there in an apparent flanking maneuver.

You will see no “Mission Accomplished” banner draped across the Juniorvanian Capitol tonight;  this could get ugly.

p.s.  I hesitate to mention it, on account of I don’t want to jinx anything, but – since you promised not to tell anyone – the Spits beat their arch-rivals the London Knights (and soon-to-be New York Islanders’ number one draft pick John Tavares) to advance to the OHL Final.  Go Spits Go!!!

2 comments to Enemy Mine

  • I was going to add that I’ve been following the Spits in idle moments at work, pleased at their progress; the Chiefs went down in the second round of the playoffs, but they went down hard. I need to consult with the ex-Ontarian in our group to nail down some of these geographic locations in my mind.

  • Windsor, as you probably already know, lies right across the Detroit River from (surprise!) Detroit Michigan. London is about two hours’ drive to the east, approximately half way between Windsor and Toronto. It’s a smallish city with a reputation as a white collar, WASPY button-down type place. It’s hard to imagine that two cities geographically so close together in Southwestern Ontario could be so different, but they are – Windsor is a blue collar rough and tumble kind of place that is strongly influenced by the American megalopolis immediately to its North. London is in many ways like Toronto was in the early 70s, a sleepy remnant of the time when Upper Canada was ruled by the Family Compact. It’s a county seat city with a university primarily devoted to medicine and business degrees and enough regional insurance, IT and financial offices to justify it’s rep as a city of office-workers (although there are some manufacturing concerns located there as well).

    The Spitfires will now be playing the Brampton Battalion; Brampton is located just west and north of Toronto, in the general vicinity of Pearson International Airport. It forms part of the Greater Toronto Area, mostly a bedroom community the current version of which developed (in part) out of a neighbouring planned community called Bramalea. It’s high density residential and through the magic of urban sprawl is (to my eye) basically indistinguishable from Mississauga to the South. Brampton is about four hours drive east (and north) of Windsor.

    Oh, and I noticed (from reading one or two of your recent posts) that you had adopted my Spitfires upon the demise of the Chiefs. Thanks!