Thursday, July 20, 2006

Do I look like a people person?

Perhaps it is true that I expect too much from people.

Despite all that I have seen in this world, I still harbour the belief that people want to be good. That given the right conditions, they will do the honest thing. They will want to act with respect and integrity. And in return, they will believe that they will be respected. Now, I believe this of people; why I do, I cannot say. The Everyday shows me evidence to the contrary.

I keep a garden allotment. It is a small bit of land, not more than two hundred square feet, where I can grow vegetables. It is rented from the city and I share this place with over a dozen other gardeners who likewise have less than two hundred square feet in which they can garden. Some of these gardeners (like myself) are there at least once a day, others come less than once a fortnight. The latter, for their own reasons, take very little interest in their plots and the aria that surrounds it. Their allotments are full of weeds and their pathways full of brambles which encroach on the more diligent gardeners.

I understand that people are busy and often fail to meet their commitments. But I did not believe that they would resist someone else cleaning their pathways (as is required by the rental agreement).A politician formed a committee, decisions were made, notice was given, and we cleaned the brambles and the weeds from the pathways so that a fence can be placed on the property line. Apparently, this was wrong of us. Two days in a row, vandals have devastated my garden. They have torn up tomato plants, and destroyed my beans. The majority of my summer harvest is gone. Not only do I take pride in my work, but also I supplement my groceries with the food I grow. It coasts less to grow a garden than to buy lower quality vegetables in the supermarket. But now I will be lucky to have a harvest. I am truly heart broken.

I wonder if I should take the moral high road and continue to replant in hope of something growing through the damage. Perhaps they will give up and with a little time their fury will diminish. Yet, I also wonder if I should give in to my urge to damage their plots in such a way as not to be traced back to me. I could allow nature to do the work, with a little incentive from me. But that damage would not be so bad as my own. I do not believe that they feel as strong a connection to their plots as I do; although, they would not have vandalized my garden (twice) if they did not feel wronged by the cleansing of their pathways.

I wonder what the basic nature of a human being is. How would we be without society? How would we act? What is the essential quality of being human? What is it we have that makes us different from the rest of nature? Why is our morality so worthless when put to the test? Is our behaviour really any different from the wild?

Is it so wrong to want to believe that people are basically good?


JustApril said...

OH NO! I'm sorry that happened to you. People can be really awful at times. I think your gardening group needs to get a hidden camera. Retaliation isn't the answer though, because it only lowers you to the standards of vandals.

I'll email you tomorrow, baring any unforseen craziness =)

Was it only your plot that was vandalized, or others as well? If you replant, you may want to wait until things calm down and see what your group's action can be, because it's pretty clear who did it, I'm sure there is legal recourse that can be taken.

Reasoning E'Bert said...

It was only mine. unfortunately the law is unclear on these matters since it is a use-right now a full renter-ship of the plots.

It just breaks my heart and makes me think less of humanity in general. But then again, all that craziness in the middle east isn't helping much either.

unenlightened said...

I met the allotment vandals many years ago, and never found a solution to the problem - but then I never sorted out the slug problem either. It's interesting how different one feels about vandalism and 'natural phenomena' which undo one's hard work on the same sort of scale. I'm much more upset if the local yobs pull up my pea seedlings than if the rooks do it - why? But please try to refrain from firing rockets or going on suicide bombing missions on your neighbour's patches - I'm almost certain it won't help at all!