Monday, January 11, 2010

Diagnosis: Antisocial...I don't even want to talk to my plants

Is there something wrong with hating a plant?  Is it a sign of some sort of emotional deficiency to despise a beautiful piece of nature? 

My mom got me a lovely orchid, almost four feet tall, that sits on my dining table.  It is huge and dramatic, it literally commands you to admire it.  Of course, being an orchid, it is "special".  It has all the personality of the little girl whose parents tell her how lovely and special she is, and pamper her just because she is so beautiful.  I.e. insufferable.  It is haughty.  I am being mocked.  We just aren't getting along.

See, the plant knows it's too good for me.  It knows that I care for plants just about as well as I do for the crud behind the fridge.  The joke is on it, though.  It hasn't stopped smirking long enough to realize that it is on the way to a slow and unpleasant death, because I can't keep any houseplant alive beyond the strangely luxurious bamboo on the mantel and the silly green pathos plant in the living room.  That plant is so good natured that it just grows and grows, almost reaching out when you walk by, waving for attention.  What does it get for it's good humor?  I have to cut its little limbs off regularly to keep it contained.  And the cats nibble it.  See what you get for being nice?

Back to the orchid:   I was given strict instructions on watering and feeding.  I studied the damn "rules" and even Googled care requirements to keep it alive.  No luck.  It's fading fast.  And I find some sick fascination in that.

Maybe it's me.  Maybe I'm the problem.  Today at the store, it seemed that the customers and staff were too friendly.  I wanted to snarl.  The lighting was too bright.  All the packages were colored in ridiculously cheerful shades.  And I'm not even in a bad mood.  I've been having a really great day actually.  But when the checker inquires how my day is going, and I say fine, and she says "what have you been up to?" I find my inner-irritation-meter going off the charts.  I realize that friendliness is a job requirement there;  they have a secret shopper that docks them if they aren't cheerful.  So I don't get mad or even openly annoyed, I just seethe a little.   I don't want help out, just give me my yerba mate and my avocados and let me be!  I sighed with relief at coming home to a quiet house and a box of books waiting.  Peace!

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