Time to get up and do stuff. Do my grocery shopping. Run errands…do everything I put off doing during the week. And my “to do” list was a long one. On top of everything else I had to do, I needed to take care of my plants. I have a Day Lilly that’s in dire need of being watered, fed and pruned.
The same applies to my Ficas tree, my Boston Fern and an English Ivy that my mother gave me 15 years ago. She had it for at least ten years before that, so this plant is like a member of the family. In fact, my mother actually named it.
Robert sits on a tall pedestal in the corner of my living room.
I got out of bed, showered, made myself presentable for Saturday morning errands and put on some jeans and an old T-shirt from the “comfy, old T shirt drawer”. I looked down and couldn’t believe that my Guess shirt had reached “comfy old” status.
I remember when I bought this shirt…at Macy’s about 20 years ago. I was “into” designer clothing back then and wanted something that literally screamed “Guess” and when I found that shirt with the word printed boldly across the front, I had to buy it.
So, I left my apartment, got in my car and ran all my errands. Six-point-five hours later, I returned. I put my groceries away. Kicked off my shoes and prepared to deal with my plants.
I filled up my watering can, grabbed my pruning shears and started working on Robert first.
I looked around. Who in the hell said that? I live alone.
“Who’s there? I asked.
That time, I could’ve sworn I heard the voice coming from the plant.
Was this some kind of joke? An acid flashback from that crazy party in ‘73? I shook my head and stared at the plant.
“Robert? Is..is that you? Are you talking to me?”
Robert: Yeah. Your shirt says “Guess” across the chest, so I took a shot. 34B?
LK: Well frankly, I don’t think that’s any…
Robert: “OK, then let me guess again….Implants?”
LK: NO!! And furthermore, I can’t be having a conversation with a plant and secondly…..I’m NOT a 34 B.”
Robert: Really? I’m proud of ya. You got nice ones, kid.
LK: Great! I own the world’s only talking plant and it’s a smart ass and a sexist pig.
Robert: Well, I do likes the ladies!
LK: How is it that you talk? Do you have a mouth? Eyes? Brain?
Robert: Bitch, does it look like I have a face???
LK: HEY! Watch your mouth…if you have one. One more crack like that and I swear I’ll yank a handful of leaves really hard!
Robert: OK, sorry, sorry!! I simply meant to say that I’m a plant. I don’t have a face or a mouth or anything like that. Sheesh! Just suffice it to say that I can talk. Every plant can at certain times. It’s on rare occasions when the moon is just right or when Ron Paul actually makes a cogent point. I guess this is your lucky day.
LK: I see. So, you mean to tell me that you and the other plants in this house communicate?
Robert: At times, yeah. And we can see things, too. We’re able to observe things, really. I don’t know…it’s kind of through osmosis or something like that.
LK: Fitting for a plant I suppose. And based on the comment about my shirt, I take it you can read, too.
Robert: Of course we can. We’re not animals!!!! But more often than not, we just sit here..quietly and look green, process carbon dioxide, make oxygen…you took botany in college, didn’t you?
LK: Yeah, I understand the basics. When you plants talk, what do you talk about?
Robert: Lots of stuff, such as the Ph level in our soil, the Scorched Earth Policy in Burma, the embarrassing itch of aphids and you mostly. Namely, the guys you date. Very interesting. Remember that really weird one…with the receding hair line. I think his name was Lloyd. Well, when he came over one night, you were entertaining him here in the living room. When you got up to go to the bathroom, he peed in the Ficas.
LK: When was that?
Robert: Last summer.
LK: So that’s why so many leaves turned brown.
Robert: And that other loser you went out, Roger, was it? You made curried shrimp for him that one time and he said he loved it and told you he cleaned his plate, remember?
Robert: He lied. When you left the room, he tossed every one of those curry laden bastards into the fern.
LK: What a liar! But that explains that horrible smell. Gee, I thought a convenience store clerk had died in here!
Robert: It made for some decent mulch though. The fern never looked better. Wanna hear something else?
Robert: That Day Lilly over there by the window…she’s a piece of work. Really into that stem cell stuff.
LK: As in primal cells found in all multi-cellular organisms which retain the ability to renew themselves through mitotic cell division and can then differentiate into a diverse range of specialized cell types?
Robert: Uh… no!!! You obviously misunderheard me, Helen Keller. I meant she sells her stems. You know…to other plants. She’s a whore.
LK: I had no idea!
Robert: Oh yeah. She has a fine stamen. Knows how to use it, too. And she gives GREAT photosynthesis! She probably pollinates four…maybe five times a night. I’ve chloro-filled her once or twice myself. She loved it…gave her consecutive organisms, too!
LK: Really? Well, isn’t this fascinating AND uncomfortable. Mind if I prune while we talk about something entirely different?
Robert: Go head. Take a little off the top.
LK: So, what does an English Ivy like you think about Global Warming?
Robert: It’s very real.
LK: Wow, really?
Robert: Un-wad your panties there, Sister. It’s real, but not in the way that Al Gore thinks it is. When the TV is on in here, I’ve watched a few of his interviews on the subject. Tell me something….is he a plant? Part tree maybe?
LK: No, he’s human. Why?
Robert: I’m surprised. He’s awfully wooden in appearance. Anyway, I think Al’s heart is in the right place–for the most part. I’d even go so far as saying his intentions are honorable. But he’s making a big deal about Global Warming because I don’t think he has anything else to do.
Robert: Since being president isn’t in his cards, Gore has to keep busy and tell me, is there a better platform than global warming? Something that can’t be definitely proven..or disproven without a lot of lengthy debate AND more research AND a whole hell of a lot money??? I mean, this is perfect for a “Look at Me! Look at Me” kind of guy like Gore. This cause also keeps his name out there and keeps him close to Young Hollywood and their deep pockets. You know—the Glitterati! Personally, I think he’s more of an alarmist than a conservationist. As I see it, he seems far more concerned with the girth of his popularity then actually saving the Earth. Hey! Look at me…I’m a pundit!
LK: You sound more like a Republican.
Robert: Me a Republican? Nah, I’m all Green Party, but I do like Bush!
LK: Something tells me you mean that in more ways than one. Please! Don’t respond to that…just tell me more about Global Warming from your perspective.
Robert: It’s real. It happening right now as you and I converse, but there’s a catch; it’s been happening since the beginning of time. See, this planet is a tough old bird. It’s been warming up and cooling down at different times since it was nothing but a dirty little ice chip with potential. The process is cyclical–always has been and always will be. We’re in a warming trend right now and yeah, portions of the Polar Ice Caps are melting but wait a while. Things will change. In a few years, we’ll enter a cooling period and things will start freezing again and someone will get all hot and bothered and start a big megillah about that!
LK: Megillah? You speak Yiddish?
Robert: A little. I’m an English Ivy, but by grandfather was a Wandering Jew.
LK: Who knew?
Robert: Yeah..sure. But you know, plant life is fascinating. I think it is, anyway. We’ve been around for a long time. Longer than you bi-peds. We have our own system of doing things. Thriving communities, astute leaders, fiduciary institutions, the works.
LK: You have banks?
Robert: Yes, we do.
LK: I suppose in the plant world, all your banks have “branches”???
LK: And…and what do you keep in these banks? Hedge funds???
Robert: Yes we do. Why? Does our fiscal responsibility amuse you?
LK: Well, it’s just that I meant these as puns; play on words. I didn’t intend for….
Robert: Intend for your queries to be funny? I can understand how a human wouldn’t get us …who we are and how we do what we do, but these things are all very real in the plant world. We’re a progressive lot.
LK: Sorry, I meant no offense. You mentioned you have leaders, too?
Robert: The plant world isn’t much different than yours. We have leaders. Every civilized culture has leaders. We practically have an oligarchy in ours, but it’s fair and just and by and large, the plants are all happy. We have a pair of leaders who are related. The father was in office a few years before the son assumed the role as ranking leader. Their family is fast becoming something of a political dynasty in our world and they have THE perfect last name to be the leaders all plants and trees.
LK: You don’t mean….
Robert: Oh yes I do! President Palm! There’s Olaf Senior and his son, Olaf Junior.
LK: Uh-huh. Right. And uh….just where do the Palms live?
Robert: In big clay desPOTS.
LK: Oh really?
Robert: Well, terra cotta ones, actually.
LK: OK, THAT did it!!!
Robert: Hey, where are are ya going?
LK: This has been very interesting and very enlightening, but this ridiculous conversation is over. I’m done, Robert. The other plants need my attention. And who knows? Maybe my fern might be willing to explain Manifest Destiny or perhaps, the socio-economic ramifications of the high school drop out rate in Senegal!!!!
Robert: So, uh….what are you? You gonna tell me?
LK: Excuse me?
Robert: If you’re not a 34B, then what are you?
LK: I’m the owner of one less house plant.
Robert: What’s that supposed to mean?
LK: You’re rude; you’re forward and oddly boob obsessed for multi-stemmed Hedera Helix. I don’t like it because frankly, I get enough of that from your human counterparts. So, it’s best you leave. I’m taking you to the front desk in the lobby of my building. That will be your new home and I suggest you just sit there, keep quiet and look lovely….like a good Ivy should!
Robert: Now look lady, I’ve been in your family for more than 25 years!!
LK: So has syphilis. You’re out of here!
One week later….
I walked into my lobby and went straight to my mail box. I guess the concierge didn’t hear me come in, but I heard her involved in what sounded like a very interesting and familiar conversation.
“Yeah, I’m a 38… Double D”, she giggled.
That Robert. What a plant!
And what a conversationalist! So good about discussing tit…for tat.