Monday, March 31, 2008

Where have all the flowers gone?

This is the season for flower shows. When you live in a state that is cold and covered in snow or ice for at least five months each year even people who don't have a green thumb visit the local flower show. They are ready to see the beautiful colors and to smell the intoxicating fragrances. For a few hours they want to forget the reality of the dirty snow and biting wind outside and pretend they have escaped to a floral paradise. They want to pretend that it is Springtime! I had my own set of expectations regarding flower shows. I had expected to need a camera or a notebook so I could quickly write down all of the creative ideas which I would want to recreate in my garden. I expected my senses to be overwhelmed. I expected to spend money on flowers and plants. I expected to be inspired. I expected to see flowers ~ and lots of them.

Now let me be clear ~ I am not a flower show expert. I would probably be considered a novice by most. I have only been to two flower shows in my whole life BUT both times I have gone with a flower show expert, my good friend, Pam. Now Pam does not have a green thumb ~she does not want a green thumb ~ but she loves flowers. She loves to be surrounded by the color and the fragrances and she does consider herself to be a flower show expert. The first time I went with her to a flower show I anticipated the ultimate floral experience.

Pam and I drove almost two hours to attend my first flower show a few years ago. She talked about the daffodils, tulips and lilies we would be seeing. She cleaned out the back of her truck so we would be able to easily fit all of our purchases back there without fear of crushing petals or breaking stems. By the time we arrived to our destination I could almost smell the roses. The flower show was being held in a building at a fairground. Since her truck was large they made us park way out in the far corner, quite a way from the building. No problem, walking is good for us. She parks, I open the door and jump out of the truck, right into... mud, lots of thick, gooey mud. My cute boot disappeared deep down into the muck. Pam is on her side of the truck and all I can hear is her giggling, laughing, squealing. I am so glad I can't see her because I know I won't be able to control my bladder if we make eye contact. I had to work hard to release my boot from the suction of the mud. Somehow we finally make it to the building, both muddy and both needing to use the restroom due to intense laughing.

We find the portapotties at the back of the building. We take a deep breath and enter. Upon leaving the portapotties we look for the sinks to wash our hands. No sink, no antiseptic hand lotion...oh, no. Now I agree that it is gross, unsanitary and just plain dirty to not have any way for people to wash their hands but I also know that my dear friend Pam is the hand washing gestapo. She once followed a woman out of a grocery store bathroom and confronted the lady as she picked up some produce. " You didn't wash your hands after going to the bathroom, how dare you touch that tomato." The woman denied the accusations but I am sure she has always washed her hands - at least in public restrooms. So...I knew a storm was brewing.

Pam searches for someone to protest to about the lack of hand washing facilities or equipment. I lag behind. And then Pam saw 'them' ~ the food vendors. Her voice raises a few octaves, "Gross! How can you be serving food when you can't wash your hands after using the bathroom? That is disgusting." I had to agree ~ it was disgusting but I thought we came to look at flowers. I am pretty sure that the most people now thought we were inspectors from the public health department. Most people were shooting us odd glares and stares.

I tried to distract Pam and reminded her about the purpose of our two hour drive. I also mentioned we would certainly not eat any food there. I pointed her in the direction of the nearest flowering shrub. Once I got my bearings and was able to focus on the flower show itself I realized how few displays of flowers there actually were in this building. I commented to Pam that there seemed to be more hot dogs than flowers. "Yeah, well, don't eat the hot dogs," she grumbled at me. Why did I have to mention the dirty handed food vendors to her again?

After one hour we had walked around the entire flower show, twice. Pam kept saying that we must have missed a room or an aisle but alas, we had not. This was it. We had driven two hours, totally almost lost my cute boot in mucky mud, and we still needed to wash our hands. We walked back through the mud to the truck and I wasn't feeling inspired. I must be honest and just tell you that I silently vowed to never go to a flower show again.

Now four years have passed and believe it or not yesterday my husband and I went to a flower show with Pam and her husband. Not only did our husbands go with us to the flower show, it was Pam's husband's idea that we all go to this flower show together. It was being held at a nearby college auditorium so at least I wouldn't have to travel two hours to get there.

I knew we were in trouble from the minute we entered the auditorium. Pam walks up to the display by the ticket booth, feels a flower and says in her loud outside voice, " What kind of flower show is this? These are fake flowers." I should have run right then and there.

We start looking around. We see mirrors, earrings, Cd's, worm composts, t-shirts, food, hot tubs, gutter systems, replacement windows...notice I have not listed any flowers. That would be because we saw few (very few) flowers. The most positive thing was that most vendors had big bowls of candy at their display so we ate candy throughout the whole event.

Pam and I were strolling along, searching for flowers when all of a sudden we saw some. It was a landscape company's display and there were flowers all around. We approached wearing big smiles. Pam couldn't believe our good fortune so she asked the vendor if these flowers were really real. "Yes, they most certainly are real, " he tells her. Pam ,of course, doesn't believe him. No, she has to step closer to touch the flowers. With total grace and poise, she steps her petite foot right into his large, glass candy bowl and shatters it to smithereens. It wasn't a quiet smash, it was a loud bellowing crash. I was in shock. I kept walking, my face turning bright red. I can hear Pam's giggle mixed in with her "Oh, my god's." I turn around to see her squatting on the floor. I can't tell if she is picking up the mess or working hard to control her bladder. I just know that I am staying away because I am going to lose all bladder control if I go near her.

A man approaches me and hands me a bag. Great, he expects me to go help her pick up this mess? He then says, " Here, put this bag over your head and pretend you don't know her." I cross my legs, looking for the closest bathroom.

Pam apologizes a zillion times to the landscaper. I think she should hire him to landscape her yard. We decide we better leave before someone gets hurt. I walk out to the truck, flowerless, again. Pam is already making plans to take me to another flower show she knows about - "a really good flower show which actually has flowers." Right. My expectation about flower shows have changed a bit. Now the only expectation I have about flower shows is that we will need to wear Depends!


Pam said...

There you go again telling all our secrets -:)

Melissa said...

I see you've learned a bit about the photos...looks good!

Benjamin said...

Thank you to everyone who has donated to Stacie's walk for Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, we both appreciate it!

Ben and Stacie

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