html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: For you? If you were here right now? Purple and blue sweet peas.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

For you? If you were here right now? Purple and blue sweet peas.

Hard work is done, and I don’t mind telling you I’m writing you from my porch, gin and tonic half finished. It is spring here, although colder than it should be, and there are flowers everywhere I look. LB, I took your advice, and my California poppies are a solid wash of orange. The lemon geranium, which hosts the ladybugs, is going off, so the bees are here too. I never understood why the ladybugs lay their eggs on the geranium, so their little alligator babies are all over the plants when the roses twenty feet away are covered in aphids. I can solve that, though, and have spent more time gently transferring ladybug larva to my rose plants than reasonable people would. My quince is long past, but the tea trees are scarlet. Tea trees in the Bay Area flower more densely than the ones here, so that’s one thing in favor of Oakland. But here, people come out on their porches and stoops, where they can actually see the tea trees. They don’t do that in Oakland, that I’ve seen, and I don’t understand why. The houses are the same, so it isn’t that they have small, lame porches or a less inviting architecture. But here you naturally take your plates to the porch first thing, or drink on the steps ogling passersby. We reject the interior! Why, Bay Area people, do you huddle inside? Is it the extra ten degrees?

We’ve been bringing flowers inside, me and Ali. We must have eight or nine vases in the house. Roses in one room, honeysuckle in the bathroom and both bedrooms. She bought red daisies, and got another two bouquets for her birthday. It is her birthday today, and she is the best roommate I’ve ever had. I picked two gardenias from across the street (please don’t tell!) and a couple blue cornflowers and put them in her room to perfume her sleep. We probably won’t really run to SF, but if we make it to MurderBurger in Davis, we’ll call the whole thing a success and order milkshakes with our burgers and fries.

I once gave a gardenia to an old Japanese man. I worked in flower stores through high school and college. You may think I’m just a poser, with my "honeysuckle" and "cornflowers", but I was a professional, you know. I have useful skills, like arranging bouquets either by lying the stems horizontally, folding the tissue over them and tying the ribbon OR holding the stems vertically and rotating them to make a perfectly circular posy (secure with rubberband, cover band with ribbon). I can make bows, you know. Anyway, the owner of the flower stand in front of Cody’s used to keep a stock of broken stems to give to pretty girls. So I was working there and a wistful old man came by a couple times and lingered. I thought it was crap that only pretty girls got flowers, so I asked him if he wanted a flower and he asked for a gardenia. Which I gave him.

He came back the next day with a tin of stale cookies for me and tears in his eyes. He said the day before had been his anniversary and he always gave his deceased wife a gardenia and he put this one on her picture and it smelled good all night. I was so lucky. There isn’t always more symbolism, but that time I was so lucky.


Blogger Dubin said...

Is it the extra ten degrees?

Uh huh.

6:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agreed, the extra ten degrees makes a huge difference.

6:45 PM  
Blogger Erasmus Brock said...

Your words are pretty.

9:00 PM  
Blogger Erasmus Brock said...

You always make Sacramento seem like summer vacation when we were kids - dirt and bugs and trees and pretend and running in circles for just five more minutes, doing nothing but also a lot at the same time...But the Sacramento version seems to be missing the part where you try your hardest to make time slow down because you know it's all gonna end in September...

Is that true? Is Sacramento really permanent summer vacation? Or is that just Megan's favorite part of Sacramento? Or is it just Megan's life wherever she is?

Is it just that the grass is always greener on the other side, or is the grass actually greener there?

9:08 PM  
Blogger Erasmus Brock said...

If anybody didn't see my comment on the last post and wants to help me out by taking my 10-minute, anonymous, for-my-Psych-class survey-for-which-I-need-data-badly, here's the link:
Thanks! Ssshhhh!

9:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should be happy, Megan, that those are ladybugs on your geraniums and not, you know, those other bugs.

7:04 AM  
Blogger Jens Fiederer said...

We've heard quite a bit about local product, but I think our lovely hostess would rather go without potatoes than to plant some of her own.

Just guessing...

7:59 AM  
Blogger LizardBreath said...

Yay, poppies!! I'm as urban as you get, but I do wish I had space and time for a garden.

8:05 AM  
Blogger Megan said...


I don't think potato bugs actually coincide with potatoes. I don't know where the name came from, except maybe that they're lumpy and live underground. I have grown potatoes my ownself, and had feral potatoes in my plot for years after.

8:26 AM  
Blogger Erasmus Brock said...

Rrraarrr! [klump] Grrrrr! [wobble]

FYI, for those of you who've never run into one, that's the sound of a feral potato.

9:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you. That was beautiful. And the story about the old man honestly moved me. I resolve to be kinder to strangers. I forget too often.

1:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

on one hand the end of that story could look like someone looking for (unconsciously) some kind of recognition for an act well done.

on the other hand it was so damn cool.

I'll go with the "other hand"


1:26 AM  

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