Green with envy

I was on the Internet the other day, scrolling through my Facebook page when I came upon a friend’s photo of homegrown vegetables—cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes—that was almost Rubenesque in its ripeness and plumpness (if the reader will pardon my possible misuse of 16th century terminology describing fleshy and voluptuous women by applying it to summer crops).

I immediately fell into a state of produce envy.  Why, I wondered, was my harvest not as lush? Maybe I shouldn’t have used the seed packages with the expired dates (my family often reminds me that I have an unhealthy flirtation with pushing-the-envelope on expiration dates, often asking one of them, “does this smell?” as I push a week-past-due jar of mayo or carton of milk in their direction).

After viewing my friend’s photo, I went out in my yard and stood over my vegetable patch with hands-on-hips. “C’mon, let’s go,” I scolded my droopy cukes and tomatoes—the Black from Tulas, Brandywine pinks and Jersey Devils (reserving a little Soprano-style scorn for these last ones, “Fuhgettaboutit and grow already!”)

And that’s when I started thinking about envy and how I seem to suffer from the sixth of the Seven Deadly sins in many peculiar situations. 

For instance, at the grocery store, I often experience line-envy. I always seem to start putting my canned goods and 20-lb. box of cat litter on the conveyer belt just as another line opens and I can’t get it all back in the cart and make it over to lane 3 in time to be the next customer served. Or, the person in front of me in lane 5 can’t find their store discount card or remember the phone number they used when they signed up for it, so now the manager has to come over and maybe the customer will have to fill out a new form that looks like it might hold enough information to get a mortgage with the eggs and detergent. 

Hair-envy is another egregious grudge because I have never, ever had a hairdo like the one in the magazine—the one you bring to your hairdresser and then she looks at you with a pitiful expression as she tries every which way to explain that maybe, perhaps, even if your hair looked like the picture in the magazine, the rest of your face and body would also need to come-up to super-model standards (and she’s a hairdresser after all, not a plastic surgeon).

The worst spitefulness I’ve practiced is mothering-envy. This first happened to me at a “Mommy and Me” exercise class where I was supposed to be working off the baby weight as my little bundle-of-joy lay on an exercise mat next to me.  But as I was lunging and jumping-jacking to pre-pregnancy weight (which—full disclosure—I never achieved, ever again), I couldn’t help noticing that some of the other babies were lifting their heads or making hand-to-foot contact, while my sweet darling (who did have a lot more hair then some of these other super infants) just laid there and smiled at me. I’ve suffered mom-envy at events as diverse as swimming lessons to the school talent show.

A lot of times, the grass has looked greener on the other side, but I guess I have to admit, with a yard full of vegetables (however misshapen and imperfect) I don’t envy anyone that!


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