Snap Shot #36: Low Blow

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“What are you doing with that?” I stop, the heavy ceramic pot feeling gravity’s tug towards the ground. I look up at my confused mother in law on the verandah. I too am confused. I thought she was aware that we’d be taking some her pots home so she wouldn’t have to chuck them when she moves later in the year. Before I can reply, my wife comes to the rescue and urges me on while she explains to her mother that this had already been flagged. So I load up three pots and we transport them from Sydney’s south to Bondi. My son helps me hide them in a corner of our apartment block’s front yard. A few days later, I also hide a couple of nice climbing plants in full bloom and several bags of potting mix. I’m excited that I will soon be able to add to the existing pot with the same type of climbers. My hope is that these attractive bell shaped flowers will eventually climb their way up several dead bamboo shoots – the skeletal remains of a previously failed garden project. The next afternoon, sweat dripping down my face on another humid day, I plant the pots and position two either side of the larger existing one. I also plant an avocado tree that a generous neighbor has given me. I look at my handy work, pleased with how it brings more colour to the front garden. It also feels good to use pots that were destined for the rubbish tip. Over the next few days I keep an eye on them. The climbers seem to be doing well but the avocado tree is struggling. The weather keeps alternating between scorching sunshine and torrential downpours. It is about a week later that I am shocked to see that the two floral pots are no longer there. It takes me a moment to comprehend that they’ve been stolen. What the fuck? Who would do that? I do my best to shrug it off but it eats away at me over the next few days, especially every time I walk past the scene of the crime. It is only days later that a recent memory pops up and demands attention. I recall looking out the window when yet another thunderstorm was threatening. As huge drops started crashing to the ground, I noticed two big dudes in workmen gear outside the building next door. They each grabbed a big pot plant near the entrance and walked off. At the time I assumed they were removalists or in some other way authorised to take the plants. But in hindsight, I now reckon that they were pot plant thieves – quite likely working on the building site across the road and loading stolen plants into their truck at the end of their shift.  Days later they would be doing just that to the plants in our front yard. It does my head in that there are people whose moral compasses are so out of whack that they can do such a thing. What are they doing with them? Surely there’s not a huge black market in stolen pot plants. Do they go home to a garden full of plants nicked from all over Sydney? I just don’t get it. My faith in my fellow man takes a particularly low blow.   

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