The Slugs Among Us

Posted on October 27, 2012


Terrestrial gastropod mollusks (slugs) are invading my garden nightly. Their slime trails ooze in capricious rivers down my garden walls, their oily glaze reflective in the sunshine. I was inspecting my newly planted grass a few days ago only to find a globular family of freaky alien eggs. A quick search on the Google revealed them to be of slug origin. A hop over to Wikipedia only increased my fear and disgust of these creatures. Apparently, slugs are dangerous to your garden especially your young plants. And now these oversexed hermaphrodites are having their lurid brand of copulation right under my nose! What’s that? Just how bad could slug sex be? They have both sex organs so it’s more of an orgy really. Due to the cork screw nature of their male organs they are often forced to chew said organs off…and this is all happening IN MY YARD! Needless to say, these guys are not welcome, and I now have yet one more enemy in my life.

As anyone who follows my blog knows, my wife and I have not always had great luck with neighbors. We pray for a fresh start everytime we move because I believe in what the great British essayist, G. K. Chesterton said,

“We make our friends; we make our enemies; but God makes our next door neighbor.”

God must have decided that Cari and I do better when we have plenty of enemies.

You can’t appreciate how nice it is to have a garden, be it ever so humble, in Istanbul. It’s a beautiful city don’t get me wrong, but sometimes it feels like you’re living in a carcass of concrete teeming with sweaty people, noxious fumes, and trash. To us, our garden is a blissful oasis. A six-story tree shoots up from the very center of it, and there is an impressive fig tree near the edge. We have planted bamboo and jasmine which are coming along nicely. We also seeded a soft grass which our two pugs just love. Right about the time I noticed the slug eggs, I also noticed little pieces of glass and aluminum foil. Could they have been dropped by careless seagulls? One of those dreadful creatures decided to peck a hole in the plastic roof over our storage room for no apparent reason.

Then my wife found peach pits. What animal would eat a peach and then deposit it in my yard? A few days later it was tomato scraps and dirty napkins. Dirty wet naps. cigarette casings. My wife was working outside on her laptop when she was startled by a loud splat splat! Cari sprang up, ran out from under the overhang, and came face to face with the perp. An withered teyze (old woman) was leaning out of her fourth floor window opposite of us. She had unfathomably decided to fling her used tea leaves some distance into our garden. OUR GARDEN. Not her trash can (I’m assuming she does have one). Cari sprang to her feet and yelled up in Turkish “Please don’t throw anything!” Caught off gaurd, the teyze called back “Excuse me,” and quickly shut the window.

Next it was me. I was aerating the yard when I noticed a candy bar wrapper dance its way down to the dirt at my feet. It was a lazy Sunday, and I could see our second floor neighbor’s feet dangling off the balcony. Enjoying a late breakfast no doubt. I called up to him. “Oh, no! It wasn’t me.” I’m sure it wasn’t, you mealy-mouthed liar, I said thought.

I was skyping with my mother in law when Cari finally lost it. She had left the conversation to check on the dogs outside. She returned holding tomato scraps and a dirty napkin. Her faced was begining to resemble a tomato. That’s when I realized she was going to go on offense. Cari scooped up all the scraps and the napkins and placed them in the entry way of our apartment bulding along with a note which read “Don’t throw trash in the garden.”

So what is it? Laziness? Are people too lazy to put things in their own trash cans? Is there a superstition against it. Is the massive tree at the center of my garden actually a god in a local cult who demands offerings of paper, plastic, and table scraps?

I’m not trying to compare a people group to insects. That kind of talk leads to genocide. I love many of my neighbors, but a lot of them have joined forces with the slugs, and they are trying to kill my garden.

***Did you know we all share 70% of our DNA with slugs! I think you will enjoy this video below. In it, Ricky Gervais interviews his friend Karl Pilkington. Ricky is in awe of his friend’s stupidity and goes to great lengths to see just how stupid he is. In this interview, Ricky is asking Karl what he thinks of biology. Specifically, he gets his reaction to the fact that we share DNA with slugs.

Posted in: Istanbul, Neighbors