Yesterday was Administrative Professionals Day. And since I am an administrative professional—at least in boring day-job land—I was of course at home sick because the soup I ate for lunch on Tuesday destroyed my real-food-hating innards. (Still no lab results, BTW.) So when I get to work this morning, I see the prettiest orchid on my fellow administrative professional’s desk. She’s out this week because her baby is having surgery to fix the cleft in his lip, so my brain promptly forgets all about yesterday’s corporate-mandated appreciation. I think, Wow, someone was really nice to give her that; hopefully it’ll last okay until she gets back to work Monday.
And then I come around the corner to my desk, and am met with this.
And my first thought is, Shit. I’m gonna kill it.
I open the card from my boss, which so eloquently says, “Thanks for everything,” am reminded that yesterday was the corporate-mandated date all about appreciating me and I missed it, and proceed to move the beautiful flowers as far from me as possible.
I love plants. I am on my way to becoming a crazy cat lady, only with plants instead of cats. (The cats might happen someday, but not until I can more successfully and economically take care of myself, much less be responsible for the health and wellbeing of another creature. Plus I’m kind of thinking about getting a dog instead.) And so long as it’s ivy or bamboo or a rubber plant or a dieffenbachia, or anything else without flowers, I have a super green thumb.
But the instant you give me a plant with a flower on it, that thumb turns black. I mean solid black. I am the grim reaper of flowers. I can do all the internet research in the world, follow the instructions to the letter, and the damn things will STILL die.
Sometimes it’s a slow, painful death: I have a plant right now that I don’t really know what it is, but it has these cute round-ish leaves and little red flowers. The ex and his girlfriend gave it to me at my last dance show in January. I potted it, gave it some plant food and while all the flowers died, the green part took off. It kept going strong all the way up to this month. Now the leaves are all turning yellow and dying, the one flower that grew in all this time has withered, and I can’t figure out how to fix it. I water it, and nothing. I let it dry out a bit, it gets worse. I pick off all the yellow leaves, it gets worse. I leave the yellow leaves, they start turning brown. I move it closer to the window, it gets worse. I move it to more indirect light, it gets worse. There are about four green leaves on the whole plant right now. I don’t understand what’s happening!
This plant has been more the exception to the rule than anything else. Usually, it is a quick and showy death: the last potted flowers I got from someone at work were daffodils. Those were dead the next morning. That’s more often how it goes.
See, I have this theory: flowers just don’t like me. That’s really all there is to it.
It’s sad, because I love flowers. I’m crazy about flowers. Flowers are pretty; they smell nice. My allergies don’t like them much, but I do. When we chose our character names for the dance company’s show, I even picked the Romani name that means flower! I love flowers so much I want to be one.
And this orchid is SOOOOOO pretty. I would love to take it home, put it on the side table in my bedroom and wake up to its pretty little flowers every morning. My friend Chelsea (of Facebook Chat fame; she said I could use her name) tells me to be positive. Orchids are finicky, she says, but not impossible. They are bulb plants, she says, so if the flowers die don’t throw it away. And I’m trying to believe her, to squash the fear with hope that maybe this time, with this flower, things will be different.
But isn’t doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result the definition of insanity? Crazy about flowers takes on a whole new meaning…