Perfectionism Matched

I reach, contorting on my tippie toes. The Trapezius muscles stretching over my shoulders ache as I hold the red-handled extension clippers as high as I can. I’m tackling the giant, thorny shrub in my backyard.

It would be easier to lop the spikes off the top with a step ladder, I’m vertically challenged. Instead, I go mano a mano with that darn bush, determined to win this round with nothing but hand clippers, long pants and long sleeves. In a previous round, I learned that the bush harbors a sentinel of stinging insects… silently zapping bare arms and legs. Funny how that works; the zaps go undetected until an hour later, when they swell and itch like all get-out.

It takes me a good 20 minutes to tame the irreverent bush. There’s great satisfaction to be found in shaping it into a near-perfect giant green ball. Covered in sweat, I step back, viewing the ball from different angles. I don’t stop until every leaf loses its individual identity. It looks good. Just greenness — one glossy ball.

Sitting at the breakfast bar the next morning, the bush looks at me through the plate glass window. The damn thing has thrown up a 2-foot spike overnight.

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