First, Take Off the Hoodie

Sex came later. From the beginning, the garden aroused my imagination all by itself. A hidden garden of edibles, it was lush and unkempt, as I describe in my story, “First, Take Off the Hoodie.”

On Parents’ Weekend, we parents were shuttle-bused all over the Stanford campus to admire various projects, including out to a garage where students were tinkering with driverless cars. The cars were cool, though splashed with corporate logos like so much else we saw that day. Still, with twenty minutes to kill before climbing back onto the shuttle, I wandered off across the asphalt road and down a straw-strewn path, toward the murmur of chickens and scent of herbs.

And there it was: the community garden, with a weathered, hand-painted sign and no corporate sponsor subsidizing the lettuce beds and fruit trees. I breathed, I wandered. I almost missed the shuttle.

No one I spoke to that weekend had ever heard of the farm on The Farm, except for one faculty member who told me that the greedy, over-irrigated golf course threatened to consume that precious acre. Too much of the campus was already manicured and perfect. In a world that preferred virtual reality, that garden was real.

Real is sexy. So when I read Sandra’s call for erotic garden stories, setting my story in that bountiful, if disheveled, place seemed natural. Because the garden appealed to the outsider in me, I could easily imagine naughty goings-on there. Then I considered all the students–young men, specifically, techies, say–who had no sense of what they were missing. I only had to imagine taking one of those guys into the hidden garden and showing him how his senses could come alive there.

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