Sunday, October 2, 2011

Eye of the Beholder

by Jeffe Kennedy

Morning glories are weeds, by most definitions. Bindweed being one of the more common names for them

I learned this when a friend, who grew up on a farm in Ohio, took one look at the mass of wild morning glories in my back yard, hissed "bindweed" as if naming a demon and offered to come over with a good herbicide. These weren't the lovely purple ones like this one, but I loved seeing the dewy fresh white blossoms that covered the vine in the early shadowed hours, before the sun hit it and burned them all away. I wouldn't let him touch my morning glory vine which, after all, was hardly choking food crops. He was angry with me, that I'd suffered such a noxious weed to live.

Like many things, whether we call it a weed or a vine, bindweed or morning glory, whore or madonna, is all in the eye - and more importantly, the mind - of the beholder.

And one of the things I've learned in my lifetime so far, is you can never change anyone else's mind.

Oh, someone else might change their opinion about something, and your well-reasoned argument might play into that, but most of the time what we think is dictated by our beliefs, and those tend not to change.

Like my friend who thought in terms of farming. Anything not a food plant - or worth showing off at the county fair - had no value. If it has no value, it must be destroyed. This same guy, an inveterate bachelor, held onto the idea that he wanted a "babe." He often pointed out which women were babes and which were not. In fact, he tended to be very critical of women who did not meet his standards of beauty and womanly behavior.

He also never, ever had a date.

See, this guy was far from Prince Charming material. He could never be described as good looking. He was frequently cantankerous, exacting, past his best years. In truth, we remained friends with him because we shared responsibilities in common - and because he had no other friends.

I let most of his opinions about women go, as they weren't worth getting into. The only time we really got into it was when he complained about an otherwise attractive woman he'd see in a shop downtown, who had something of a mustache. Why wouldn't she remove it, he grumped. So I explained to him her cosmetic choices, along with the time and cash investment required, then asked him what choice he would make. Did I mention he held the purse strings tight? Yeah, that shut him up.

Meanwhile he ogled his Playboy Magazines and told bitter tales about the one woman who ever had slept with him (so far as I could tell). What he thought about women had nothing to do with them and everything to do with himself.

I think this is true of most people.


  1. Wow. That guy sounds like he needs a high five, in the face. With a chair.

  2. Oh, I've known people like that and they are so difficult to be around. I myself know I can be stubborn in my views from time to time, but I do at least try to see things from different angles.

  3. Lovely post. I feel sort of sorry for your friend, but he has really reaped what he's sown. Having all those superficial criteria for a partner really just allows the world no wiggle room to send someone.

    It's funny what you said about weeds, too. We have those white morning glories in our yard. We also have some honeysuckle that we love for privacy and the blossoms. The sparrows nest in them and eat the berries. But the neighbors bitch endlessly because they're noxious weeds. I feel that as long as they're on my side of the property line, they're all mine to enjoy.

    Our next door neighbor has been having a war for the last two weeks with mushrooms. He cut down a tree a couple of years ago, and as the wood rots, it's become a great place for white mushrooms. The other day, it looked as if a smurf village had grown up. It was very charming...but he can't stand it in his diagonally-mowed front lawn. He mowed them down every day, they came back in force. Last week, he got somebody with a chemical truck out there to kill them. His yard still reeks. But the mushrooms are gone.

  4. LOL, cuttlefish! That might have gotten his attention!

    I think you're a very open-minded pig, Sullivan. Except when it comes to the bacon jokes...

  5. I felt sorry for him, too, Laura. You're right - he'd completely closed himself off to the possibility of ever finding someone.

    Great story about your neighbors and I love that you enjoy the morning glories, too. Sad about the mushrooms. Sadder about the poison.

  6. We love dandelions at our house. One reason we love living on our own little patch of land - no neighbors to complain about weeds or not weeds, mowing or not mowing. At my last "city" house, my retired elderly neighbor came over and quelled a rosebush that had gone wild, trimming it back to a faint shadow of its wild & rioting glory. I allowed her because it had spilled over into her yard, but I grieved the loss.

  7. ooh, I would have, too, Kerry. bleh!

  8. It is a heinous flaw to view a partner -- potential or existing -- as an animate toy. Fortunately, Prince Churlish hasn't "settled," thus keeping the divorce courts and gene pool free of his stupidity.

  9. lol, KAK - succinctly put. "Price Churlish" - lmao!