World Naked Gardening Day

When Facebook told me that Saturday was World Naked Gardening Day, I scoffed. Being naked out of doors has never really agreed with me. I have skinny dipped a few times, ended up on a few ill advised nude beaches (fucking France), and did my rugby Zulu warrior dance after scoring my first try. This last one has the added benefit of allowing one to enjoy nudity, the outdoors, and friends and acquaintances dumping cold beer on you. I miss college. But overall, I never warmed to the idea of being naked near other people in places where poison ivy, wasps, and the French exist.

While I was initially comfortable with my decision to abstain, by the afternoon on Friday I felt as though this prudishness was a major personal failing. What was wrong with a little nudity? Women sunbathe topless at my local pool with no shame. It’s natural and fine. By the evening’s fourth drink I was ready to sell all of my possessions and clothing and live in a raccoon commune in Moravia. But first, I was going to take part in World Naked Gardening Day.

No thanks! I said. There are three green(ish) things in my house. A defunct retired Christmas tree named Larry. A rosemary plant that Collin brought over the other day. And cat grass that my cat loves so much she can’t wait to share it in regurgitated form on wherever I am going to step first thing in the morning.

In twelve years, my neighbor and I have enjoyed a waving relationship. Her living room window is adjacent to my balcony, and we have awkwardly caught each other in underwear shaking out a rug or hanging laundry. The guy who I see on his balcony from my living room celebrates World Naked Gardening Day every day.

On Saturday I spent the morning on the couch watching bad movies. I was dressed in sweats and a T-shirt. Though the weather was warm, I put on a sweater and my kufi. Then a scarf. Still, I knew I had to do it, so at lunchtime I made my move. I took off my clothing and made the mistake of looking in a mirror, warnings about which are on boxes of mirrors in shops. Looking in a mirror while naked and being over forty can be very harmful to your health. And then I realized that I had left the watering can out on the balcony. I took a lot of deep breaths and then ventured out.

Naturally, a muster of clouds came out and chilled the air at least seventy degrees. And then I got nervous and broke the second rule of being naked: never run. I ran. I found the watering can in its spot under the chair on its side and ran back inside. The cat took the opportunity to steal through the door and get a better view of my sprint. I didn’t see the neighbor; I have no idea if she saw me.

I went out with the watering can and hydrated Larry. He is mostly brown now, so I am trying to nurse him back to health. Also, I really don’t want to buy another Christmas tree next year. After watering him and coming back inside, I felt a glum disappointment. I had expected more excitement. I found a jar of used coffee grinds and poured them on Larry too. I looked around. Even peeked over the balcony wall to look down at some people who were talking on the steps. And then, realizing that I was observing others while in the nude, I ran inside.

It was while watering the cat grass and the rosemary shrub that I saw my neighbor. He was also naked and watering his plants. For the first time in the twelve years I have seen him, he waved. So, at least I have a date for next World Naked gardening Day. Which is nice. You’ve got to be adventurous folks.

.0000000000004 – the number of seconds after seeing the naked neighbor that I was back in my sweats and T shirts and under covers.

Adventurism in nudity happens in increments. Still, screw the French.

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