Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Requiem for an Office Plant

I like to pretend that I'm a rational person. (Please ignore the hoots of laughter coming from Husband and the Boys. I said I was pretending.)

However, I have one fear that I will admit is absolutely irrational, and I'll just go ahead and claim it right now: Leggy philodendrons freak me out.

Philodendron plants are practically indestructible, and are the office plants most recommended for people who have superpowers when it comes to killing plants. That (along with being able to predict when the kitchen timer is going to ring) is my superpower, and when someone gave me one for my office years and years ago, I figured it would be gone in a matter of weeks.

Instead, it has lasted years and years. Instead of dying when I neglect to water it, it has dropped off leaves the that were nearer the roots and continued to put out new shoots. It has become leggy, with long bare vines topped off with robust leaf-bearing sections.

There are people in this world (*cough*Husband*cough*) who may have, in their ill-informed youths, thought this was attractive. They even might have draped their own leggy office philodendrons in such a way that they embraced the legginess, stringing them around floorboards as if they were some kind of domestic kudzu. This kind of Wahoo for Legginess! attitude also is seen in Small Town's most popular Mexican restaurant, where the philodendrons hover around the ceiling, stretching through the space between tables.

I do not like this look. This look says "Mmmm...I'm going to share your chips, then I am going to strangle you. Could you hand me that salsa?" Then the plant hums a few bars of "Feed Me, Seymour" which pretty much kills my appetite for enchilades verdes.

But I also can't bear to throw away a plant that is not yet dead, so as my own office plant became a series of leaf-tipped vines I wrapped them around the totem stick and kept the plant compact. Finally I unwound the vines. They stretched through my office, snaked through the reception area, and were almost long enough to climb into the break room. Enough was enough. I picked up the plant and carried it out to the dumpster, where I'm hoping it will be picked up before it slithers back inside.

Now I have a lovely new office plant, contributed by Husband (whose office plants always look gorgeous, because he insists on watering them every week and because he has seen the folly of his leggy-philodendron-loving youth). I'll see if I can keep it alive, but I'm not making any promises. Better admire it while you can.

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