Plant Shutdown

As I may have mentioned before, I am not a skilled gardener. I am as neglectful of my plants’ health as I am of my own. So upon returning from my Memorial Day weekend getaway, I realized that I had forgotten to water my plants before I left, and most likely for several weeks prior to my departure.
My Easter cactus was shriveled and dark green. My bamboo was puckered and yellow. My jade was droopy and slightly purplish.
I immediately saturated their pots with tepid water, and within a few days, the most amazing thing happened. I noticed some healthy green new growth on my jade plant. My bamboo looked plump and vital. And springing forth from the tips of my Easter cactus were bright pink buds, eager to bloom. Not once, in the two years that I have owned this cactus, has it ever flowered. Despite my neglect, or perhaps because of it, my plants were suddenly thriving.
So what am I to take away from this experience? Is it possible that my houseplants were trying to send me some sort of subliminal message? Could it be that, sensing their impending doom, my plants suddenly realized how amazing life truly is, and therefore when given a second chance, leapt at the opportunity to make the most of it?
I have to wonder if my plants were trying to teach me a life lesson. Over the past several years, I have watched my body slowly erode and shrivel into a state I assumed was permanent. But what if, like the sturdy bamboo, I, too, can grow new shoots once again? Is that what they were trying to tell me? Perhaps there is much to be learned from our leafy friends. Lessons like:
1. Only through adversity do we reach our full potential
2. What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger
3. A near death experience makes you truly appreciate the value of life
Of course, I quickly rejected this theory and instead, determined that all of my plants were suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. For years, I had held them hostage on my windowsill, their fate teetering between life and death, dependent upon my god-like hands to bring them water and Miracle-Gro. As could be expected, they have all begun to sympathize with me, their captor. I think the Easter cactus might even be in love with me. I have consequently decided to name her Patty Hearst. We are going to rob some banks together later this weekend.
While I was momentarily impressed with my plants’ physical fortitude, I ultimately became disgusted by their spiritual weakness. I mean really, what does it take to find a plant that will actually stand up for itself? Every last one of these pathetic plants caved in to my abuse. And now they’re all trying to teach me some sort of Reader’s Digest life lesson about the strength of the spirit? I don’t think so! I have enough people telling me what to do with my life – the last thing I need is to have a bunch of insecure flora telling me I can be a better person by just letting people abuse me.
You know what I would do if I were one of my plants and I were that neglected? I would form dozens of beautiful flower buds and let them almost open, then I would go on a hunger strike until they all dried up and fell off, never allowing my abuser to witness their splendor. I would drop leaves into her coffee cup, and shrivel up when company was over, just to embarrass her in front of her friends. I would suffocate myself rather than emit the sweet, sweet oxygen that my captor so desperately craved. That’s what I would do. And I would respect the plant Jenny for having the guts to do just that.
This bunch of low self-esteem, preachy plants makes me sick. So I decided that this weekend, I’m throwing them all out and getting a plant that has some attitude – a Venus flytrap. Venus flytrap takes crap from no one. Venus flytrap is at the top of the food chain. Venus flytrap just says, “What? You think you’re gonna forget to water me and let me die? You think I need you? Shit – I’ll catch my own food, sucka! I’m a carnivore – I kill what I eat. And lord knows you got enough flies in this pigsty apartment to keep me living large for months.”
Yeah. Me and Venus flytrap are gonna get along just fine.

One Response to “Plant Shutdown”

  1. AB Says:

    Ha! Maybe that’s what I should get! A Venus Flytrap! My plants did the hunger strike thing, but I held out and, well, they just died of hunger. Maybe my next plant should be silk.