We live in the city, and while we live in a charming neighborhood, there are decidedly un-charming city things that go along with it.
Like human feces in the alley, mandatory Christmas cards to the trash collectors, and crime - both large and small.
This week: One of our neighbors emailed Nick to say that two petunias had been stolen down the street.
The owner of the petunias looked out the window just in time to see an older woman scooping them out of the soil and putting them in her purse. I'm not sure why he informed our neighbor of this, but our neighbor responded by planting pansies as replacements.
His email to Nick was about something else; this neighborhood crime report was extra.
I immediately thought of Michael Ondaatje's grandmother, Lalla, the botanical burglar.
Nick, however, immediately thought of Jordan's grandmother. As in MY mother.
We were sitting in the living room, enjoying a glass of wine, when Nick read the email on his Blackberry. He read it aloud, then raised his eyebrows at me.
"You don't think Betty..."
"Don't be an idiot. Betty wouldn't steal flowers."
"Are you sure? She takes cuttings of other people's plants."
I was going to deny this, not because I think it's a big deal - she's always done this - but because he was acting like cuttings were like a gateway drug. One day, little snippings of plant shoots, the next day, swiping someone's oak tree in the dead of night.
But he said it with such certainty that I didn't feel like I could deny flat out.
So I was all, "What? Have you ever seen her do that?" (See how I'm tricky like that?)
"Yes, Lisa. She does it while we're walking down the street." (Um. See how he's observant like that?)
"Oh. Well, yeah. But that's completely different."
Seriously. It is.