Dear The Middle Class,
Hey, it’s Ta. It’s been awhile, you’re right. We need to talk. Don your conversation poncho. This is gonna get messy.
Yesterday, the guy at work I talk to about gardening said a thing.
Me: I’m coming around to your way of thinking and might plant some peas soon.
Ken: Mine go in tomorrow.
He was looking at me side-eyed and my breath caught for a second. Yes, we’ve had an unusually mild winter after a series of unusually warm winters, but the general rule in New Jersey is: plant after Mothers Day. I’ve been planting more than a month earlier, but we’re in the first two weeks of March, and that seems different. I thought that over, and this morning, I took out my seed stash and began planting my garden.
As recently as yesterday, shoppers across the U.S. faced long lines, empty shelves and close contact with hundreds of their closest friends. Middle Class people, accustomed to picking up groceries here and there and when it was convenient, are thunderstruck that they can’t just tool around their local and fill an empty pantry they should have kept stocked all along. Their panic buying is applying pressure to underprivileged people of all sorts and the working poor especially, since store shelves are already empty when a paycheck clears. I buy toilet paper by the case because I have the attention span of a goldfish and a strong desire not to run out, so I figure into the shortages just as much as you do. Essentially, we suck for making tough lives tougher.
So here’s the thing: think down the road a month or so. You can’t stock up on fresh vegetables, and to get them, you’re going to have to grocery shop somehow, once again placing pressure on people who don’t need to be on the receiving end of your shit.
If you have property, a lawn, a yard, you need to take some responsibility for yourself and your needs. Instead of emptying grocery store shelves, get your ass to the garden store, buy some tools, seeds and organic fertilizer. Then: turn over your lawn and plant. In four weeks, you can have lettuce and spinach. In eight weeks, you can have new potatoes. Eight weeks from now is the middle of May, and approximately Mothers Day. Newsflash: you’re going to need to eat, and you’ll be able to dig up food in your yard.
If you’re about to say, “Ta darling, that’s all well and good, but I don’t really enjoy gardening and dirty under my nails makes me feel so not-Middle Class.” You know what? Fuck you. Get a shovel. Get some seeds and convince yourself you’re growing artisanal spinach, if that helps. But fucking do it. You don’t need a lawn. You need vegetables. Grow them yourself.
If you’re even thinking about saying, “Ta, you know I would but I don’t know how,” take a deep breath and a step back, because no one has time for your helplessness. It is not adorable. Open up YouTube and fucking LEARN. If you live where blizzards are still making your winter miserable, you can start seeds in growing medium so you’re ready when the weather cooperates.
Don’t argue with me. Don’t waste your time or mine. Get yourself to the garden store, stock up and plant your own food. It’s truly the least you can do to help other people in a time of pandemic.