February 14, 2011

The last few weeks have been rough. Things have happened. It snowed twice and blizzarded once. I started googling “frostbite” before venturing outdoors; don’t do that. I have had to run on a treadmill a lot. I went to see a depressing movie even though I was depressed. I have been blah. Good things have also happened but they were dampened by the blah. Molly says February is just a crappy month. She might be right. I am apparently an emo 13-year-old; cue “The Good Fight.”

Last September, a few months after moving into my new apartment, my two houseplants started dying. This was tough. One was a gift and the other I bought 3 years earlier. It was from Kirksville and until it got too tall, it sat in the passenger seat when I made the 5 hour trek home. Aside from emotional attachment, there was pride–I am a gardener.

I watered the plants to no avail. My room gets no direct sunlight, so before it got too cold, I carried them outside every day and let them sit on the front porch while I was at school. Instead of coming home to revived plants, they always looked worse; the wind blew off whatever leaves were still attached.  I tried cutting off the really dead parts (I had made a clear distinction between the dead and the really dead), so all the energy could be focused on the parts that were just regular dead. Then I started peeling off their bark-like stuff; I’m not sure what I thought this would accomplish. Then I stopped doing anything altogether, accepted defeat, and just stared at their corpses.

On Friday, the sun came out. Some of the snow melted. Saturday was warm, too. Instead of washing my car like I’d committed to doing, I went to the nursery where I buy garden stuff. I was on the way to the car wash, but the a sign outside said the houseplants were 25% off. And I had just gotten a package in the mail from my mom and dad filled with very special pink and red peanut M&Ms, car insurance (always practical), and most important to this story, $20.

I found the plants that needed low sunlight. There were a lot of options; if you’ve ever gone grocery shopping with me, it was kind of like doing that. I talked to the sales clerk and wrote down the names of the plants–Maranta and Chinese Evergreen. I asked if the nursery had any kind of guarantee or return policy, and she said “no.”

On Sunday, I read and took 2 walks, waiting until late afternoon to throw away the old plants and put the new plants in their pots (you know, saving the day’s best activity for last).

As I was throwing away the old plants, I realized I always get houseplants in February. I have never gotten a houseplant when it wasn’t February. The first was during my junior year at Truman. It was $30. I went to the nursery with a then future, now former boyfriend. He didn’t buy anything, but I couldn’t resist buying something from the man who owned the nursery; he was in his 70s and was wearing a cardigan sweater and was weird in an endearing way. The other was last year. My parents bought Alyssa and I each a plant for Valentine’s Day. Her plant died immediately, but she said it was dead on arrival; I laughed.

I buy plants in February. Sometimes they die. There is a little bit of dirt under my fingernails. I like my room better now. I’m not sure what any of this means. I also had a dream last night that I was being chased by a gigantic (aren’t they all?) grizzly bear but I outsmarted it; I’m not sure what that means either.