So I have a tendency to behave in ways that leaves a very distinct impression on my apartment managers and security. I don’t mean to, it just kind of happens. Like that time I had insomnia really bad and I went out onto the porch at three am hoping that looking at the stars would help, only it was chilly and I couldn’t find my hat. So I borrowed my son’s wizard hat figuring that no one else would be out at that hour, and besides it matched my purple hair. The new security guard was very nice, and had a pleasant chat with me. I know it was to see whether or not I behaved like a tweaker ’cause who else would be out in a wizard’s hat at three am on a porch in the ghetto, but since I was more sleepy than twitchy I passed.
Well anyway, our apartment manager was very used to my strange requests (“Has a box that is lightweight and smells like a barnyard come in?” or “Do you mind if I weed the gardens? I want to dye some wool.”) I even managed to freak out the apartments up the hill by asking if I could prune their ornamental pear trees to harvest the bark (it makes a pretty rose color on white wool when a pinch of food grade alum is added).
The new apartment manager though, the very first time I met her I asked if the new owners were going to start spraying pesticides and herbicides on the lawn. She said “Oh yes, we’re getting a new lawn care company and that will be part of the service, absolutely!” She told me later she was trying to reassure me so the new owners could make a good impression, and she was quite shocked when I said “Oh nooo! Man, that sucks.” (pouty face, stompy foot) “Well, can you do me a favor and call me the day before they spray?” She said she indeed could, and asked why. I told her I liked to forage for weeds to serve with dinner sometimes. I have to admit, the struggle on her face of trying to remain professional looking while highly confused and surprised was pretty funny.
Anyway, she did indeed call the day before and when I started digging up a mess of dandelions (roots and all hoping to bring them in as houseplants, though that didn’t go too well), I met some new friends who were very confused at my playing in the mud. When I told them dandelions are high in vitamin A, can be eaten in salad, have a bunch of other vitamins and minerals, can be used to make wine and dye wool, they grabbed shovels and started digging with me. That’s how I started hanging out with a straight up gangster thug (not a wannabe, we’re talking a record here) and we talk on and on about herbalism, cooking, gardening, and spiritual pursuits (I even taught him and his wife mindfulness meditation). Because health and nature appeal to everyone, people!
So back to the new manager because my good news is the point of my rambling. The other day I was hiding in the bushes to jump out at my friends who were pulling up soon, and the manager lives across the hall from them and was on the phone with security because that weird woman was in the bushes (I waved to her to show her it was okay!) but when she saw me scare my friend half to death she called them off and came out to laugh and apologize for nearly getting me harassed. (There it is again with the odd impressions I leave on management.)
During the conversation, she told me some great news, because of me they are only spraying directly around the air conditioning units. If it’s not near a unit they will get it with a weedeater, and that way I can keep foraging! Yay! Sad that I didn’t know this before the grass was so brown, but there’s still some plantain and henbit around. This makes the hippy me very happy too, because even though there are some sprays soaking into the ground, there are less of them now :).