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I bought a grow-your-own-bonsai-tree mini-kit. It's one of those things you buy when you're with your friends, because everyone's laughing at how lame it is.

Invite peace and tranquility into your home or workplace, it advertises. 

I could certainly use some peace and tranquility around my place, right?

So I buy the thing mostly just for kicks, and bring it home. It's just a little box, a "mini-kit" with a tiny little shallow pot inside, a few tiny seeds, a dried chunk of dirt made to fit in the shallow pot, and a book on how to grow the thing.

It's a little more than just planting the damn seeds and watering them, but nothing unmanageable.

First I soak the four seeds I get in water for 24 hours. After this I wrap them in a damp paper towel, put the paper towel in a plastic bag and let the seeds cold stratify for 7 days.

I can't wait for my peace and tranquility. I decide if I like this thing I'll get another one. Maybe a few more. Put them all over the house. I'll be peaceful and fucking tranquil as shit and all my friends will envy the Zen atmosphere of this house.

I'll write Haiku poems about this little bonsai tree. I'll get a Betta fish in a strangely-shaped fishbowl and set them right next to each other. Incense. Little Buddha statues. Yin Yang coasters.

In any case, it's been 7 days and I finally get to plant these seeds. I run 1000 mL of water over the dried dirt like the book tells me, and I put the dirt in the little shallow pot with a hole in the bottom, then I set that on a plate. Just like the little book tells me to.

I push the four little seeds into the dirt, like the book also tells me to. It says, plant all of them. Then when they grow a bit you pick the best-looking one and take out the others. Then you have four chances to get a good one, instead of just one.

So I put the little pot on the little plate on a little north-facing window sill just like the little book says to. I water the dirt whenever it looks dry, the weather's nice and sunny and the days are long, since it's summer. As far as I'm concerned, this is perfect. That bonsai is going to be the best-looking goddamned bonsai ever. I'm already planning where I'll put the other five or six I'm going to get.

But then a week passes and the thing doesn't sprout. A second week passes. Nothing. Damn. I've fucked something up, obviously. Maybe the seeds were too far down in the pot. Not far down enough. Too much water, too much sun. Whatever it was, they were obviously not growing.

I did not feel peaceful and tranquil. I felt failure.

I thought about taking the seeds out and replanting them in some other dirt, but they were very small and very dirt-colored, and I realized the chances of picking them out of there were pretty slim. So instead I just took the damn little shallow pot and used a spoon to dump all the dirt into the trash can.

And of course when I dump the dirt in the trash on top of some other garbage, there's a little tiny root there, smiling up at me like a bastard.

I wonder how many days it would've been before that showed up at the surface. Two or three? And I threw it in the trash! What a fucking abortion! This is not inviting peace and tranquility into my home or workspace. This is inviting rage and disappointment.

Maybe I'll grow a cactus instead.

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