" SpiritofSaltSpring:BC:Canada:GulfIslands:SaltSpring:Salt Spring:

May 26, 2008

Women have gardens, Men have Houkah pipes

Forget all those books that have already been written about the differences between men and women. You know the ones I mean: Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. There are others. Why women can't read maps and why men can't listen! Who says?

Well, there's no need to read those if you haven't already. Let me just give you a wee visual that will sum up the difference in a snapshot in case you haven't already lived it by being in a relationship.

Picture me. Beautiful, sunny day. Late afternoon. I've been dreaming of my balcony. This year I'm going to do it right. I'm going to make sure all my containers have proper drainage. I'm going to think about the flowers' colour combinations and I'm going to choose the right flowers so that my balcony will be my very own paradise that I can sit on at dusk and listen to the birds and watch the passers-by coming out of the park.

I'm deciding which flowers should go in which pots. I like taking the flowers out of their flimsy, plastic containers, just like when you were a kid, and had to pat the sand out of the bucket right before you quickly turned it over like an upside-down cake.

I grab the moist,straw-like roots and break them up. I position my little lovelies into the perfect position in the planter to ensure their continued growth happily throughout the season until I've nurtured an explosion of colour worthy of a photo essay. That's a snapshot of me in my very toned-down version of paradise.

Have you got that scene? Good. Keep that visual in your head. Now, just scan over a little. Move the binoculars a little to the left, over to the next balcony. If I stand at the far end of mine, it's situated so that I can see some of my neighbour's balcony.

I look over and what do I see? I see a gleaming Hookah pipe. The water is bubbling furiously in its bulbous royal blue bottom. And, I see my neighbour's hairy white legs. I have to stop myself from imagining the rest of his pudgy body, lounging, very Men are from Mars-like (well at least they have an excuse I think to myself).

He has put down a grimey, foam pad. No need for wasting money on deck furniture. There's no need for chairs. Might as well just lay, seal-like, on the cement on a grimey foam and smoke the Hookah pipe at leisure.

I picture the hose reaching up to his mouth at an odd angle. He's probably drooling as he half-dozes looking a bit the way a baby does when its sucking on a soother, eyelids fighting to stay open. What's he got in there I wonder. Is it just flavored tobacco or is it something else? At least he's quiet. I really don't care what my neighbours do as long as they do it quietly.

He's got a John Belushi-like quality about him my neighbour. He's dark haired. He's got a thick beard. He likes to wear Aviator glasses from the Mod Squad era. Apparently, he works in animation. I'm guessing the pizza delivery place is on speed dial. I'm annoyed by the cigarette smoke being infinite. Every once in a while the burping and the snapping of the top off the two-four lets me know he's home. Ah, summer in Vancouver. It's such an idyllic little Canadian scene. People are clamouring to get here, lying to immigration, so they can be just like "us"!

Now, it's not as if I'm some girlie-girl. I'm not some extra feminine little princess; a hostess with the mostess! Not by a long shot! I'm just saying, look no further in how men and women are different! Right here. Right where I live. There's me. There's him. Mere metres from each other yet kilometres, perhaps galaxies, apart. I means, sure, I'm not quite from Venus. On some days lately we're not quite sure which planet I should call home. But, I'd say he's definitely from Mars.

Actually, he's from the Prairies. But hey. Close enough!

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