I have known Camera Girl for about forty-eight years. We met on a beach while each of us was skipping out on our respective high schools. Physical attraction was the initial force that brought us together but over the years, we have interacted to the point where, we know each other as well as a man and a woman possibly can. And yet our motivations, methods and objectives are, if anything, even closer to being diametrically opposed now than they were at the beginning.
I like to think that I base my plans on a somewhat analytical approach to accomplishing my objectives. So, let’s say Camera Girl tells me that she wants a fish pond. Before committing to such a project, I would first look at the pros and cons of such a goal. I would ask my client what are the objectives? How many fish and what type are desired? What’s the budget for construction and maintenance?
Then I would look at the various options for constructing the pond. Should it be a liner or a solid shell? Should I build it or hire a contractor? Where should it be set up with respect to the sun? What safety considerations need to be weighed? When does it need to be completed by? What additional items (like a bench or some plants) are also required? What modifications will need to be made to the property (power line, water line) to accommodate the pond? And finally, how will the pond be impacted on by the surrounding wildlife?
Camera Girl, on the other hand, cleans out an old muck bucket that she has lying round the yard, buys a dozen “shiners” at PetSmart and tells me she wants me to buy a “solar” fountain on Amazon.com for $12.98.
I find this very disconcerting. I explain to her that the “shiners” will probably die in the bucket over the course of the summer, the fountain is a piece of crappy plastic that will probably stop working after a few weeks and she’ll have to replace fish and water every few weeks.
This perturbs her not the least. Our granddaughter will be coming over tomorrow and they like looking at the fish in the bucket for a few minutes every day. And none of my arguments address this goal.
For she knows that if I were to undertake this epic project by the method that I favor, it would involve weeks of planning and months of installation. Just digging the hole would take a week or two. So, from her point of view my method has no upside. A pond that was finished in September is worse than no pond at all. The weeks when our granddaughter would be without the fish to interact with would be an epic failure. Because by September she’ll be entering kindergarten and no longer around to enjoy the mega-pond that I would create.
So, shaking my head and grumbling under my breath I look up this magnificent “fountain” and find a plethora of companies selling this same crappy plastic fountain and select the one that will deliver it for a total of $7.53. This is my consolation. I paid five bucks less for a piece of junk that probably won’t last through June.
But when all is said and done. She has logic on her side. That muck bucket pond is almost an optimized solution to the mission. A little girl will sprinkle some fish food into it and watch the fish come up to get it. And even if the fountain stops working and even if the racoons and the herons eat all of the fish on a weekly basis it will have served its purpose.
But my pond would be much better.