“stick it in your closet and hope for the best!” is not something you’d expect to hear from a fanny-packed bontanist who is referring to anything besides plants, or the plant i was about to buy, schilfera. after confiding my failure to properly raise several houseplants this year to the woman wearing uteral luggage, i shed my airs and asked for something low maintenance. in plant speak: ” i need something…low light.” all at once the bluebells of brooklyn botanic garden synched in fear. the “avenue q” t-shirted brooklyn mom scoured from beneath her caladium. “imbecile” i heard her say. “she must be from the upper east side.”
but low light plants are tough. they are the phytoplankton riding the subzero currents of the sea, the mosses in the jagged crannies of the himalayas, the schlifera that would soon sit on the lightless windowsill of my sun-proof apartment. the fanny-packed woman assured me it would be fine, prescribed water and fortnightly growth seances for my new plant, took my $6, and watched me saunter off with the brave biotic toddler in my arm.
i rode the subway home from prospect park to 86th, an mta certified “long ass way,” staring at my schiflera. succulent radial leaflets of etherial grandeur. i just used all of the big words i could muster to make this plant seem extra great! granted the subway makes us all lose our marbles… but i actually started to feel like each of the little succulent petals were helping me navigate and mentally-assess the genuine craziness that was happening around us. i’m not just talking david foster wallace moment – “you suffer a grievous life of verdant liberal arts perception; e.g. that chair is actually the throne of corporate malice!” — or in this case — the mom telling her small child to shut the fuck up and to “stop sippin’ reggie’s juice!!!”, the guy next to me who’s iphone cricket ring tone rang for the duration of the the 1.25 journey, or the. No. In this case it was an unbeknownst feeling of plant fetishism that capsized me like a tide of alien invaders (picture those little green vending machine escapees from toy story) and said SARAH, IT’S OKAY TO LIKE PLANTS.
“and then i wondered” … is it okay to like kim kardashian and my plant? or am i simply living a lie