October 18th, 2002

abstract butterfly

if I'd become a horticulturalist I might feel more rooted

Yesterday I demolished some cookies lying around our office, which is odd, because in theory nowadays cookies are the exception rather than the rule in my life. Perhaps I have some secret, unmet soul need which I'm desperately trying to assuage--but I think I just like the chocolate chips. I was looking at yet another of my "thrift sale purchases" (for some reason, my life happens in 50 cent bursts these days), a Time/Life book on "Indoor Foliage Plants". The author was a professional horticulturalist. Maybe I would eat fewer cookies if I'd been a horticulturalist. Imagine--all those plants, all that "I'm in touch with the good green earth and I'm fine with that", and all that "ma'am, this abutilon will grow nicely if you don't plant it in direct sunlight". No doubt by now I could own my own nursery, which would be cool, because then I would not hesitate when I try to spell nursery the way I do now.

I knew one woman in college slightly who was a horticulture major.
My university, the University of Arkansas, was the sort of place where the only programs with national prestige were agriculture, architecture and creative writing. You know, plants, plans, plaints. This woman, a friend of a close friend of mine, always seemed so down to earth and "in touch". Dragging potted trees around open lots makes one in touch. I think she's out horting culture someplace in the mountain country, and probably raising kids who those "unfettered natural beauty" smiles. By contrast, the only one of my close friends in college who spent time in the agriculture department was the fellow who went to their "farm products store" to buy the 2 1/2 gallon box of milk, complete with the little plastic hose for pouring milk into one's cereal. I had a roommate for part of my freshman year who wanted to be a county extension agent. I imagine it would be fun to drive from farm to farm, dispensing brochures and advice. Maybe I've missed my true calling--maybe I was born to be much greener than I am. But any look at any non-cactus houseplant I have ever owned suggests that I am probably more suitably employed as is.

I'm sure this is somehow a hangover from those James Herriott books I've been re-reading. I love those books, because they so romanticize a life I so much don't lead. I don't think I'd be country vet material, although Yorkshire in the 30s sounds like a happenin' place. I always think it mildly tacky when lawyers write those "cases I have won" books, so I am afraid I must stick to bad poetry and forelorn efforts to write bad novels instead.
I do rather want to write a law careers book someday, but that task is set aside for now, as I have my novel next month to write on.

Meanwhile, my quest for local craft classes has been less fruitful than I had hoped. I found a great early November class on odd art book binding, one day of fun, down in Dallas. But my local crafts stores are offering classes in "jewelry making", "cake decorating" and other similar not-me skills, so I will have to keep on looking.
My wife says that our local parks department has crafts classes, and I know our local community college does, but so far I'm very U2 as far as finding what I'm looking for.

I have a busy Friday ahead, and I'm eager to go and live it.
abstract butterfly

Celebrity suburbanization

I know a fun game. Basically, one takes "famous people", and then imagines them transposed into an ordinary soccer parent SUV suburb. It goes a bit like this: Fiona Apple becomes the Mary Kay lady, driving her red car as a director with a suicidal abandon, peddling cosmetics door to door, dreaming of a pink Cadillac, but always pausing in the middle of the demo to look wistfully into the mirror, and intone in a bluesy kinda voice "I'm just not sure it's worth living when you have a Summer complexion". Russell Crowe coaches the local junior high football team, having affairs with 3 soccer moms simultaneously, but dumping them all when their marriages disintegrate. His team never wins, really, but they play with such poise, while he watches from the sideline drinking beer. George W. Bush is the high school principal, of course, and speaks constantly about the threat posed by hip hop music and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He calls Buffy, Pink and Parker Posey the "lasses of evil", and everyone at school just shakes their heads, because they don't get the connection. Bill Clinton, by contrast, has built a huge congregation at the local Pentecostal church, but unfortunately some of his parishioners are a bit too loyal, giving him much cause to seek solace on Saturday night and forgiveness on Sunday. Nobody can figure out who elected Deborah Norville president of the Junior League, but she seems to be president for life. Adam Sandler works in the local video store, and does baby voices when you ask him to help locate a film. Axl Rose cleans carpets for a living--everyone looks at his tattoos and feels they should know him, but nobody can quite remember why. Sean ("P. Diddy") Combs does a creditable job as manager of the local funeral home, except for his nervous tic, which makes him say "It had nothing to do with me" whenever he is asked how a client died. Jennifer Lopez leads aerobicize classes at the local "Y", and everyone says she could be a singer and dancer, if only she had a good voice. Dick Gephardt is delighted to help meet your life insurance needs, and has a particular expertise in structuring corporate bonus payoffs. Martha Stewart runs the Pet Pastry Bakery, but she drives away customers by denying that she had insider knowledge of the e. coli problems with the Meat Treats. The vet, of course, is Jodie Foster, who takes her pets so seriously, that she becomes positively private about their health as she treats them with unflappable intensity. Jerry Seinfeld has his own accounting practice, in which he accomplishes pretty much nothing. Cindy Sherman runs the photoprint shop over at Wal Mart, but she keeps wasting the film on pix of herself. Anthony Hopkins is the best janitor that Rosemont Middle School ever had--the floors are so clean it's as if he licked them clean. Sting is perpetually the losing candidate for mayor--he never gets more than 100 votes, and nobody is quite sure what he stands for, but everyone knows his hair is resistant to the comb.
Alanis Morisette runs the reception desk over at Dr. Jamie Lee Curtis' dental office (Dr.Curtis has a gift for overbites), but when you come in for your appointment, she always looks right through you. Steven Spielberg is the local stockbroker, and everyone in town has profited from his advice, but nobody likes to admit it. Oh, and Angela Lansbury really is a mystery writer....

See? Mine weren't even all that good. What are yours?