From: Allen, Woody
To: NYC Tennis Club [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Subject: RE: Reminder Today 3:00 p.m.
Sorry everyone, but I won’t be able to make it today due to an unexpected semi-urgent situation I must attend to, which I will attempt to explain. Just to clarify, this is a real situation, and I’m not simply avoiding Rupert since he called me a “deucebag,” which is humour I can selflessly appreciate.
Soon-Yi has been growing eight tomato plants which, due to the bountiful nature of the universe, have grown over five feet tall. Along with this are lemongrass, chives, a large bag of pot soil, cilantro, sweet basil, Thai basil — well, you get the point. This is all happening in our patio area, as part of our condominium. One unfortunate attribute of a condominium is the Home Owners’ Association (HOA), which contracts out to property management companies tiresome logistics and arbitration — in this case, one Nightingale Properties. (Some of you may know that Mia ended up with both townhouses.) Anyway, this ostensibly “neutral” Nightingale Properties is keen on asserting totalitarian control over any and all things relating to the boundaries and/or vicinities of my condominium by way of oblique, vague, and arguably passive-aggressive tactics. Case in point: they posted a notice (barely noticeable on the bulletin board) saying that all units with a patio must remove all items on the patio by Friday, as they will be washing the fences. The post was accompanied by an illustration of a “high-pressure washer” whose capacities seem rather Freudian — but that’s just me. Given that today is Thursday, the only time for me to remove the eight overgrown tomato plants and myriad of herbs inside the condo is tonight.
Not to be paranoid, but I suspect the HOA keeps notices of this nature from me because they want me to incur a transgression and fine me whatever inordinate amount they fancy. Funny, I know, but I suffer from moderate anxiety, and while a more mentally well-adjusted person would simply play tennis at 3:00 p.m. to make it home by, say, 7:00 p.m. in order to clear out his patio, I am simply, verily, not that person.
If I have any commentary it is this: that on the seventh day God created a lot of worry, and we are still trying to use it all up. I, for one, am doing my share. Incidentally, if anyone knows where I can get malaria-grade insect mesh, let me know immediately.