Thursday, September 27, 2007

Weed Killer, Friend Killer

In an attempt to make friends on my little island off of the Jersey coast, I often cruise the streets. Cruising isn't just for people in search of a sexual conquest; it's made for any lonely gal, new to an area, trying to connect. And while cruising is a little strange in a small town, it is still a perfectly viable way to meet people.

So there I am, walking down my little street and I spot a potential John! And she's a woman! (This is particularly great, because I seem to be just fine attracting 20-something surfer boys who want to celebrate my new "Cougar" status but I miss the kinship of a good, ol' gal). I stop in front of her house and admire her garden. Her name is Emily.

She's visiting from NYC and will be here throughout the summer – a much-needed break, since she is a professional dancer, nursing a long-standing injury. Wow…and she's in the arts. Good deal, since I'm an artist too, damnit.

We talk for several minutes and I can tell we hit it off just fine. Later that night, she comes over for a little scotch on the rocks and we sit in my backyard talking under the stars about everything under the sun. I sleep that night a little more soundly, knowing there's a female only doors down, with which to bitch.

Several days later, I meander by her place (I don't have to cruise anymore…my days of ill-repute are over). We talk for a few minutes, but I can sense a chill in the air. Hmmm…She said noticed on her way out of my backyard that night that my brother had a can of the weed-killer Roundup next to our house. Well, yes, yes, we do have Roundup. Well, we don't – my brother does, I explain.

She goes on to tell me the vast amount of ecological damage that Roundup does on a small island like this. That there are easier and more natural ways to get rid of weeds nowadays. Half-lives are mentioned. Endocrine disruptors are tossed around. Glyphosate herbicides bandied about. Fish immune systems fired my way. My head is spinning. "But, but…it's not MY Roundup, I tell you. It's my brother's! Poison ivy! Not me!"

But it's too late. The damage has been done apparently. I'm stunned that someone would hold my brother's weed killer against me. A New Yorker, no less! Hours later, as I lie awake in my bed, I retort mentally. "Well, if you're so ecologically correct, Ms. Dancer Thang, then why did you take a $225 car service here? Why not ride a horse? And those cigarettes you're smoking, the last time I checked, weren't exactly an unborn fish's best friend."

The next day, I cruise by her place (I'm back to my old tricks again). She weakly lifts a hand toward me – not quite a wave, more of "This is as much as you get from me, Weed Killer Girl."

I continue on to the beach for a swim and pick up a bunch of cigarette butts as I exit, something I do often and with little fanfare. I fantasize about taking them and spelling out the words "Mother Earth, My Green Ass" in front of her door but that would take a lot of butts. I drop them in the nearest trashcan instead.

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