My friends and I had a “girls weekend” a couple of weeks ago.
It was all that and more. There was eating and drinking and shopping and spa-ing. We ran along the beach every morning.
We stayed at my friend’s parent’s house, a beautiful estate in Montecito. When it came time to leave, I wanted to give them a gift. Most people give cut flowers but I like to give live plants because after a week or so the plant will still look beautiful.
Throwing out dead flowers depresses me, so I always put it off, even if the flowers are gone and all the decaying petals are lying on the table around a vase full of decaying stems, they just sit there, until my husband says something like, “Honey? Do you want me to take those flowers outside for you?”
My girlfriend kept insisting that her parents were just like she was when it came to keeping plants alive. Which meant that the plants would keel over as soon as I left. I kept insisting that even if the plant did succumb to some sort of plant torture, live flowers would stay alive longer than a bouquet of cut flowers purchased for the same amount of money.
Trust me. I’m cheap. I know these things. This seemed to strike a chord with her, so she drove me to the local nursery, which wasn’t open because it was Sunday. Then she took me to another local nursery, which looked even better, until I noticed that it too was closed.
What kind of nursery closes on Sunday? The answer is the kind of nursery owned by people who don’t need to work on Sundays, the kind of people who already have a lot of money, the kind of people who live in Montecito.
We pulled into the parking lot to turn around and I noticed that all the gates to the nursery were opened and I began to question the fact that it was indeed closed. I got out of my friend’s van and walked toward the entrance. It was wide open. I wanted to run in slow motion towards the nursery entrance like long separated lovers run towards each other in romantic movies but my girlfriends had gotten out of the van and were following me in.
The inside gate was open also. There were hundreds of wonderful and exotic plants in beautiful pots. There were fountains trickling with water. There were wind chimes and garden sculptures. The only things missing were the nursery employees. The entrance to the small nursery’s office was the only door that was closed and locked. All the merchandise was out and exposed and there for the taking.
Now I’m cheap, but I’m not a thief. O.K., I did think about it.
My friend was driving a van after all. All we would have had to do was back up the van, load it up, and drive home. Simple as taking a bottle of pear Ripple from a 7/11—not that I would know what that was like.
I perused up and down the narrow pathways of the small tidy nursery. I wouldn’t even have to stick anything under my shirt I could pick it up and walk out the gaping gateway to the parking lot.
Finally my girlfriends peeled my white-knuckled fingers off a yellow cymbidium, and escorted me back to the idling van.
We drove away from the nursery without so much as a tulip, my face pressed up against the glass watching the little nursery get smaller and smaller, a tear rolling down my cheek.