by Jennifer Villamere
Houseplants are generally inconsequential and are only imbued with the meaning you bestow on them.
For example if you name them, they begin to take on personalities. You may name your English ivy “Bert” and pretend he talks with a Cockney accent. Call your ficus “Larry” and wonder how he’d look with a handlebar moustache. Ask him what he thinks about the current state of men’s grooming.
Now you are talking to your plants. You are talking with your plants. You have given your plants human characteristics. Sadly, this anthropomorphizing of your plants is surely the domain of the demented or worse—the truly lonely.
Is that what you are? Truly lonely? Bert would tell you that’s what we all are.*
But he won’t. Because he’s a plant, dummy. He’s not Bert, he’s not a he, he is an it.
It is a plant.
Say you accept the notion that houseplants are sub-human entities not even worthy of a name. Consider this: would you care if your houseplant died? It is the circle of life,** after all. Shit gets born, lives, withers, dies, etc. Seeds and stuff. Seasons in the sun. Metaphors and all that.
But even though your houseplant is an “it” and not a Bert or a Larry, it is a living thing. And like any other living thing, if your houseplant intends to die,*** it will do no good to try to talk it out of it.
1. The plant cannot hear you.
2. The plant is meant to thrive; if it is dying it is likely the fault of its caregiver (you) and if it could, it would probably resent you for this.
3. Although the plant is not human, talking it out of dying is as valuable as talking a human out of dying. Most of the time, it is out of their hands. In all cases, it will happen anyway.
So save your breath.
I made these footnotes for you:
* But he would say it as, “Ain’t wheeze owl trudy lowenly?” because Cockney, remember?
** I have never seen The Lion King and yet my mind is singing, “The cirrrrrrrcle of liiiiiiiife!” so don’t worry. We’re all in this together.
*** Signs your houseplant intends to die:
2. Flaccid (ahahaahahflaccidbecausepenis)
3. Soil is parched
4. Leaves are yellowing and/or falling off. In extreme cases, leaves are brown and crunchy, but not in a delicious way.
5. Telltale wilty-ness