Last fall I had a woman approach me while I was working in my garden. She told me that she volunteered with the city’s annual garden tour and would be recommending mine for the coming year. I didn’t think much more about it and forgot all about the incident by the time spring rolled around.
Then, a few days ago, I got a knock on my door. At first I didn’t recognize the woman standing there, but as she started explaining the situation I did recall our conversation in the garden six months earlier. She needed to apologize, she told me, and she felt it best to do so in person, because she knew how hard it would be to hear that my garden had not been selected for this years’ tour.
I assured her that it was no big deal.
No, she insisted, she had led me to believe that I would be selected, and she herself had experienced the disappointment of having her garden not be included some years. She was at fault. She had been sure that they would choose my garden. It was okay for me to express my feelings to her.
I realized that she was serious, that in her mind she had offered me the chance of a gardening lifetime and then snatched it away, that she could only interpret my lack of emotion as putting on a brave face. The possibility that I had no interest in the garden tour at all, that I had forgotten the offer had even been made, that depending on the work involved I would probably have declined being on the tour anyway, was inconceivable to her.
Yes, I was disappointed, I told her, but I would survive.
The lie seemed to be what she needed. She told me not to give up, to keep improving the garden. She promised to suggest it for the tour again next year.
I thanked her, but told her not worry about it. I just garden because I like to grow things, I explained. I really didn’t need to be on the tour.
Of course I wanted to be on the tour, she said. Everybody wanted to be on the tour. And she would see to it. Not to worry.