A watched tomato plant never buds.
Or, as I am currently learning, at least not for an excruciatingly and unacceptably long eternity of time even though I stand poised over my two increasingly large heirloom tomato plants daily with a slice of wheat toast in one hand and a salt shaker in the other, ready to pluck the pleasantly plump fruit (or vegetable or whatever it is) of my labor, stab it with a knife, dash it with salt and lay it to rest on its waiting toasty bed for a tasty all-natural, grown-and-slain-by-my-own-hand breakfast treat. (I realize that sounded like I have at least three or more hands, but fear not. I'd hold the salt shaker in my teeth.)
Alas, as of this morning, my toast was once again bland, my tummy and my lofty urban farming dreams unfulfilled.
"Where are my tomatoes?" I demand of my insubordinate plants during each morning's inspection. I pat down the filigreed leaves in search of a concealed bud, employing the technique of a diligent TSA agent hunting for underwear bombs. Maybe I should be nicer to them. The plants, and probably the TSA agents, too. But sorry plants, my love is conditional and requires seeing some rotund red amid all that fine-looking foliage. And until that happens I shall continue to stomp haughtily back into the house, tossing this shriveling salvo over my shoulder as I go: "I can get them faster at Safeway, you know."
Yeah, I'm a bad plant mama. They could make a reality show on
Granted, I have no clue how long it's actually supposed to take for such things to grow. This is my first foray into cultivating something potentially edible. And if you read my Chia Pet column last Christmas, you know plants in general are not my thing. I should perhaps be put in some sort of prison for heinous horticultural homicide, may my poor parched Chester Chia rest in peace.
My husband is no help. Sure, he grew up on a real farm in the Midwest, yet he claims to know nothing about tomatoes. Oh he knows how to eat them, and make a yummy tomato-basil sauce and soup. But does he know how long the plants take to sprout? No. How about watering? Are those wire cage/trellis things the right way up? Why are there yellow flowers? Where are the tomatoes? Why don't we have any tomatoes???
I pummel him with these questions, and then I get in the car and head for Safeway.
Ouch, that smarts
Guess I could look all this info up on my new hand-held encyclopedia/video-game arcade/map of the world/camera that also, miraculously, defying all logic, actually even makes phone calls. Yes, prepare to be amazed and astounded, hold onto your iPads and pause your Zombie Smash game for this breaking news update: I now have my first smartphone. Impressed? No? Well, no one else has been, either. But it's huge for me. I even named my phone: Alec. Smart Alec? Get it? Well, no one else does, either. But it's hilarious to me.
I had been resisting this move, not because I am an old codger but because I'm a relatively young codger who fears developing an inferiority complex next to my mobile device's massive yet compact brain, not to mention getting hooked on checking my email and, boom, there goes my data plan, exploding more dramatically than the boulder you just dropped on that zombie's reanimated decaying head. Omg, can't you stop playing for, like, 10 seconds?
Had my old Nokia flip phone not failed me (parts were literally falling off like a geriatric dog losing its teeth), I would still have it. For one thing, I'm not going to play games, undead or otherwise, on my phone. I'm not going to watch the entire "Lord of the Rings" trilogy just because I can. As my brother-in-law recently stated, "I've spent my whole life working up to a 54-inch high-def TV with surround sound. There's no way I'm watching a movie on three inches of plastic." Amen, brother-in-law.
Just to be clear, my new phone is merely smartish -- certainly not the Stephen Hawking of smart phones, but something Ian at the AT&T store said would "ease" me into the technology. Ian suggested I spend a couple of hours online, studying up on all the features of my new phone. A couple of hours? What are you, high? Although by the time I'm done, maybe I'll have some tomatoes.