I love flowers. I love their beauty and imminent nostalgia that is attached to them. Flowers evoke memories of yore. They evoke memories of the sun and the grass and a certain amount of whimsy. I grew up in the South Bronx where there is not much of a tourist economy. However, we do have the lovely Botanical gardens. Greenhouses are so warm and inviting. I love feeling their humidity on my skin.
Yet, please do not ever send me flowers. See despite my love their intrinsic warmth and beauty, I sneeze like a madwoman around flowers. Thus, before heading to any botanical garden I load up on Benadryl. Thus, while the perfume of the flowers enthrall me, the Benadryl has me walking up in a fog.
My mom never had live flowers around the house. She loved putting little vases around the house filled with fake flowers. Every mother’s day, I would go and but a plastic flower or two. I loved giving her the plastic sunflowers one. Despite their plasticity, they were still inviting and filled the room with mirth. I always thought it was just another one of her quirks. Then one day a date sent me flowers. I put them on the table and started sneezing up a storm. It was as if he was trying to torture me.
Most people know that I am allergic to flowers. Thus, I do not ten dot get flowers. People have sent me fruit baskets. Have sent me chocolates and have even given me a 12-pack of Coke Zero to thank me or acknowledge my greatness. J
There were two somewhat recent occasions whereby someone sent me flowers. One was from a colleague who wanted to thank me for my mentoring efforts and the other was from someone wishing me a happy birthday.
I took the nice flower arrangements and brought them to my office and stared at them. A scowl started forming on my face. I heard myself going “hmmpf”. These two people knew better. They both new I was highly allergic. Why in the world would they send me flowers as a gesture of goodwill. The answer was clear. These were not gestures of goodwill. They were either efforts that were perfunctory and thus not really thought out or they were efforts of bad will. It could have been they were in a hurry and at the last minute they remembered me for whatever reason and just thought “oh, yes, mimi, must send something.. flowers. Right…” Or they could have thought “I must save face and show the world (or the business colleagues) that I acknowledge Mimi, however, she bugs me. Yes flowers. That’ll do.” I kind of believe the birthday gesture was the former and the mentoring acknowledgment was the latter.
Not all flowers are what they seem. They are so many layers of meaning embedded in flowers. If you want to honor me, don’t send me flowers. I will gladly take a mojito or two; with a sprig of mint. How’s that for a floral arrangement?