The Vinca killer

The world is full  of amazing, impossible occurrences. There’s the height of the mountains and the depth of the oceans and then there’s a mother’s love, and some other stuff to do with karma, that I cannot go into fully right now.

In short, we are surrounded by phenomenon that cannot, rationally at least, be explained. And its the daily stuff that amazes me the most.

Yeah, yeah, there’s the rising and setting of the sun and all that. However, there is equal wonder in the  phenomenon of the bathroom light that never switches off.  That switch, which no matter how many times you flip off, is always flipped back into the ‘on’ position, by some ghostly hand that belongs to no member of the house, for the minute you ask who left it on, there will be a chorus of ‘not me!’.

And who amongst us, has not experienced the wonder of the no-space-refrigerator or closet. It doesn’t matter if there is a total of three carrots and two steaks in the 730 ltr capacity refrigerator, nobody, absolutely nobody, will be able to make space for the left overs from dinner. Same with the closet. It may look like a phone booth from outside and be like Doctor Who’s Tardis on the inside, but there is no way it can accommodate another shirt or trouser, and they must, absolutely must, remain hanging on the back  of a door or slumped on your favorite rocking chair.

What can be said of the phenomenon of the wise-dumb house help, who knows enough to get on a plane, cross a few continents, check her contract for minimum wage salary and yet not know that the right way to dry a pair of jeans is to leave them on the clothes line longer instead of leaving the iron on them while she has a siesta?

Those of you that have had to deal with a garden in the Middle East must be familiar with the Vinca-killer phenomenon. The two plants that you can trust to keep your garden from looking like wasteland here, are the Bougainvillea and the Vinca. These are the saviors of the home owner who works a regular job, which is not with ‘Ideal Home’ magazine and actually has a budget as opposed to a trust fund for the garden. You imagine that once you have invested in those silly little white, pink, red flower plants you are home free. That, no more will you spend every September moaning about the Hibiscus Rosa, not rosing. Or the Rangoon Creeper not creeping. Or the green grass being a shade of yellow. But you did not account for the Vinca killer. The one that strikes dread into the heart of ever garden owner. The gardener. He can cause the Cactus to get a fungal infection by over watering or he can make your Evergreen, Nevergreen by forgetting to water it. And slowly, but surely, he will get to your Vinca. He will blame the yellowing on the lack of fertilizer and the sudden wilting on too much fertilizer. He will blame the weak stems on the dogs and the lack of flowers on the maid. And when all your pots and flower beds lie there, barren like the head of 50 year old insurance salesman, he will shrug and tell you, you need a truck load of new soil. That’s his professional advice, as the official gardener, take it or leave it.

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