Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Our Ancient Watchman

A very long driveway, I thought as we drove in to look at a suburban house. We had seen so many, but this one looked promising from the outside except for the ugly green utility box in front. Inside was much nicer than any place we had seen and, to my delight, there was lots of land for gardening.

In the end, we did buy the house. But the first time I commuted back from work, I was greeted by the ugly green box. Why the developer placed an eye-sore at the most conspicuous spot in front of a nice house, it was beyond my logic.

“You will get used to it,” my husband, Bob, said, “it’s just something that needs to be there.” A typical male attitude: ugliness overlooked and beauty taken for granted. I kept telling him we should do something about it, and he kept saying that it belonged to NStar Electric and we couldn’t put anything on it.

Then one day, I saw a small sculpture of a man dressed in Qing Dynasty clothing sitting and pondering in a garden catalog. That is it, I told Bob. “Only $89, okay let’s try it,” he said. Apparently it was about price all along.

Our Chinese Man came, and was put on top. A wonderful difference. When friends came to visit, they praised, "Where'd you find such a nice stand for your sculpture?" The ugly utility box, as intact as it can be, magically disappeared from everyone's eyes.

However every time I walked by I had to move our Chinese man. The wind would always make him face a different direction. Bob said that he was looking around to see the world, but I didn’t really like the directions he chose. One windy night he blew off altogether and I found him in the morning on the ground, broken to two halves at his middle. Almost in tears, I asked Bob what to do. “No problem,” he replied, “I will fill him up with sand and glue him back together.”

So that's what Bob did, turning a bad situation into a good one. The heavier man was now able to hold his position in any weather. He outlasted his original stand, which had started leaking oil, and happily sits on the new one. He is slowly turning green with moss, but remains as happy and unperturbed as ever. In the snow he even gets to wear an extra hat.


Unknown said...

How beautiful, Xujun. What a nice way to conceal an ugly thing.

Xujun said...

Hehe, I fell in love with him.

Sandra Novack said...

Love it, Xujun. Great solution to the green box problem!

Everyone wins. :)

Take good care,

Xujun said...

Good to hear from you, Sandy. I like the new look of your blog very much! I just changed my blog's header yesterday. The new header is a photo of my garden wall. What do you think of it?

Maryanne Stahl said...

I LOVE the new header! And I am jealous of your garden. The only way you can console me is to post more pics of it!

Lovely story about your Chinese man! I lived in a house that had a box like that in front. We were told we couldn't obscure it, but I did anyway, with bushes. One day the electric company came and dug them up. I replanted, but left a little more room. I wonder whether they are still there?

Xujun said...

Thank you, Maryanne! I will make sure to post more garden pics for you in the summer!