This afternoon, citing aftershocks from gastric disasters that laid me low Thursday and Friday last week (we reviewed our menu from last week for spinach and didn't find any; just plain Crud, not Elvis Coli, put me out of commission), I skived off work early.
My true motive for playing hooky was the garden. I tried to work on it this weekend, on my own time like a patriotic American, but was too weak and washed out to get much done. I'm putting some of the beds to sleep for the winter, employing the Newspaper Method recommended by some of my helpful commenters during the Great Hip Surgery Disaster of June, when I couldn't get outside, let alone administer the veggie beds. The poor garden's been a mess this year owing to its daddy's medical tsuris, and I just want to knock it on the head for the winter and live to fight another day.
This Newspaper Method of controlling weeds is great -- the hydrangea and clematis beds by the porch, which I was able to protect in this way, are marvelously weed-free. I'm still learning how to apply it; some nasties are poking up in the blueberry patch because I didn't lay in the newspaper with enough overlap between sheets. But I'm a convert. Thanks, all you nice, knowledgeable people!
The Newspaper Method has another, accidental consequence. The Washington Post is our fishwrap of choice, and I'd saved a goodish stack of it for the garden. If you take both the weekly and Sunday editions, as we do, it doesn't take long to accumulate a garden's worth. I had about a two-week pile stacked up, and as I went through it, from newest to oldest, I couldn't help noticing that as I laid the A Sections out in the vegetable beds, I was getting a variety of Instant History Lesson -- a review of everything that's happened in the last couple of weeks, in reverse chronological order.
The News Cycle forces up to live from day-to-day. We open our papers, tut-tut (or ululate with horror) over the Latest Outrage, and then get on with the demands of existence, putting the Latest O. behind us just to cope with the other stuff life presses on us. At least in my case, this is a sovereign defense mechanism. Sure, I get depressed and angry over these parlous times, but at least I get depressed and angry over just one thing at a time, and I manage to forget -- or repress, might be a more accurate word -- things that I got d. and a. over last week, or last month, or last year.
Perhaps this explains the benighted Bush-babies, who still defend the indefensible: They don't use the Newspaper Method in their gardens.
Here are the headlines I buried under thick bark-mulch, starting from today's Post and working backward. Depressed and angry? Yeah, but I'm also muscle-sore and tired.
You could call that another defense mechanism.
Anti-Muslim Harassment Complaints Jump 30 Percent
Bush Pushes Spread of Democracy Worldwide
Pope 'Sorry' About Reaction to Islam Remark
Ties to GOP Trumped Know-How Among Staff Sent to Rebuild Iraq: Early U.S. Missteps in the Green Zone
Bush says hunt for bin Laden has not slackened
Senators Defy Bush On Terror Measure
CIA Learned in '02 That Bin Laden Had No Iraq Ties, Report Says
Bush in bid to twist Republican arms on security
America Marks a Grim Anniversary: President Visits Three Sites Where Nearly 3,000 Died
War's Critics Abetting Terrorists, Cheney Says
Iraq's Alleged Al-Qaeda Ties Were Disputed Before War: Links Were Cited to Justify U.S. Invasion, Report Says
Bush Says Detainees Will Be Tried: He Confirms Existence of CIA Prisons
Bin Laden Trail 'Stone Cold'
Two weeks' worth of Life Under Bush. Two weeks down the Memory Hole. Two weeks now mulching my asparagus.