Two activities have come to comprise much of what I do with my day: disposing of the vast amount of bamboo in my overgrown jungle of backyard and then recovering from the physical exertion involved in the previous item. I don’t mind the work. It’s a type of labor I haven’t had much reason to perform in the past few years. However, it does have a few side effects that I could leave without, foremost among them how dirty it makes me. I don’t mean to sound like some delicate flower, but I could do without coating my extremities in a sort of filth that’s plausibly seen more moons and seasons and U.S. presidents than I have. These bamboo stalks, some of them are twenty feet tall. And they have branches. And every branch creates a nice place for dead leaves as associated other rot to accumulate. When I start knocking these plants down, the vast storages of mulch-waiting-to-happen all end up on me.
On Thursday, I woke up and immediately got to work, shaking and cracking and pushing and chopping. I actually worked straight past lunch without so much as taking a bathroom break. When I finally did, I looked in the mirror and immediately thought “Damn, I have to shave.” Which was an odd thought to have, since I had actually shaved fairly recently. Then I looked more closely. Nope. Dirt. It was dirt I was seeing on my face, caked on to stubble and forming a pretend little Hitler mustache of dirtiness. I was so repulsed-but-amused by this that I photographed it for everyone else could enjoy my filth.
The following shower was one of the better ones of my life so far, if only because I may have never been dirtier and may have never been able to benefit so much from hot water and soap.
I took a follow-up picture to prove that I don’t still look like a bum.
The moral of the story: Bamboo is the worst stuff ever. Don’t ever plant it.