GRANT PARK–Grant Park residents reported mixed emotions at finding kale lying on the street in front of their storm drain rainwater recycling system. [Photo above is an artist’s conception. -Ed]
“Food waste is always sad,” said full-time potluck coordinator Chad Lovegood, pointing to rule 5 on the Neighborhood Association’s list of 12 things worth feeling sad about. “What our white collar criminals ex-convicts grow in their herbal agricultural therapy rehabilitation program is nothing short of miraculous. These are men who callously stole millions from the nation’s lower middle classes and plunged them into bankruptcy, undoing generations of barely extant accrual of capital. The fact that they can make anything grow proves that rehabilitation truly is possible, and validates our neighborhood’s risky choice to take them in, though of course none of us were personally affected by their actions and therefore have less baggage standing in the way of forgiveness.”
After this lengthy answer, Lovegood paused for a breath and partner Tru stepped in. “The only upside is that we no longer wonder whether our children are safe playing barefoot in the street. When the worst thing they find is a kale leaf, we’re doing pretty well.”
When asked why their children were playing in the street, the partnership made identical faces of incredulity at the ignorance of such a question. “Our entire neighborhood is a place of residence, not just the houses. Drivers should treat streets as places where there may be cars, but there may just as well be children playing. Share the road, as they say.”
Eyewitnesses reported a circle of pensive neighbors gathered around the leaf. They debated its significance and took pictures with their shoeboxes. After an hour of silent communal contemplation, the neighborhood third-party soothsayer announced that the real question at the root of the matter was whose leaf was it? And such a question, they all agreed, was equivalent to asking whose world it was, to which there is no answer. Except the answer implied by the hand-hewn wooden neighborhood sign, “Resident Gents.”
“We have taken back the word ‘gentrify,’ said Shyla. “Re-appropriated it, just like the people who originally stole it from us did, but in reverse.” There was no consensus on who the original thieves of the word were, except that they did not understand the meaning of gentrification. “Gentrification literally means ‘peopling,’” continued Shyla. “And all places need to be peopled. Just like the United States were peopled by the pilgrims.”
“I don’t understand these people,” said agricultural rehab participant Wesley Hanson, taking a break from potting golden raspberries to roll his eyes at the kale crowd. “They pretend to be the most tolerant citizens in town, but then impose an authoritarian ban on processed food that many of has have grown chemically addicted to. When I was told the rehab program was putting us up in one of the richest neighborhoods in the city, I did not imagine myself drinking vinegar and eating leaves. Otherwise I wouldn’t be here.”
At the mention of eating, the other rehab participants groaned and muttered the names of major fast food chains and expensive New York steakhouses, neither of which culinary spheres they now have access to. The participants, when surveyed, reported to largely prefer prison to farming at “Resident Gents.” They cited climate control, access to drugs, and hierarchical power systems as the main perks that the garden lacks.
The leaf was ceremonially added to the compost heap by 12 hands representing each denomination of agnosticism present in the neighborhood.
[Article by Andrea Folds, wannabe Christian and reluctant cynic. She can be found at alwaysreallyhappy.com]