Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Misery






This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Monday, October 04, 2004


Stop Me Before I Kill Again

They're all dead or dying. My window sills are littered with pots of empty dirt with a few random, scrubby pieces of sub-kindling, suitable for nothing except perhaps grinding into powder and sprinkling on the floor to demonstrate the strength of a new vacuum. Maybe three or four of them have hung in there through the last three years and are under the intensive care of my wife, now without law school papers to write and so with enough time to tend to their poor dessicated husks. What happened to me?

When we lived in Seattle, I had a house full of plants. I took care of every single one of them. I watered and fed them. I repotted them when they'd grown too large for the container they were in. I gave them fucking names. I left all of them in the care of my mother-in-law and the students in her library when we moved across country, bringing none but the offspring of our very healthy spider plant. I'd given all of our friends other repotted cuttings from the same plant for presents our last Christmas on the West Coast, saving only this one to bring with us to New York.

While we lived in Yonkers, this new plant, Junior I called it, was essentially on a ventilator. I was constantly bringing it back from the edge of the abyss, moving it from place to place in search of the patch of sunlight that would be the most nourishing. Maybe it was just a West Coast plant unable to make it in the big city. Maybe I tried too hard. For whatever reason, Junior was our own little chlorophyll-filled Jerry's Kid. It was always weak and scrawny. At two and a half years old, it was still in the same pot in which we'd brought it here. It was never strong enough to sprout any offspring of its own. I'd go visit friends in Seattle and feel shame when I saw how the spider plant babies I'd given them had grown into huge monsters, just dripping sproutlings.

Last month, after our trip to Europe, Junior died. It's my fault. I guess I knew it would happen. I left no specific instructions for anyone to water the plants. A few of the others were hearty enough to live through a month of neglect. Not Junior, though. When we dropped the luggage we'd shlepped around for the last four weeks down on our threshold, there Junior sat, her dehydrated shell pointing at me accusingly. Had I just grown tired of the constant worrying about her? Did I reach the point where I decided that it would be an act of kindness to just let her go? I can't say.

All I know is that she's gone, several of her leafy compatriots with her. And I have their deaths on my conscience. I wear a black shroud on my green thumb. Lo, I am become plant death.