If 2017 taught us anything, it’s that everything you love will die.
This isn’t about the horrifying state of emergency in which we find our entire planet (see: U.S. national parks, Paris Climate accord, our oceans, sea turtles, polar bears, rainforests, climate refugees) — though, make no mistake, we are all royally fucked. Those are just the examples off the top of my head, and there’s enough evidence there to reaffirm my ironclad determination never to reproduce. Never mind what childbirth does to the body (it’s for some people but, like, hard pass) — even if my spawn don’t end up being mass murderers or, worse, this flaming idiot-nightmare, I still don’t want to have to reminisce sorrowfully as I explain to them what a polar bear was like in real life.
I digress. This post is about my poor houseplants, many of whom recently died a terrible, frostbitten death by the windowsill as this freak ungodly weather nestled its frosty ass all over the face of the East Coast for the last few weeks, culminating in what I can only imagine to be a made-up term till about a week ago: the cyclone bomb. Three of my most formidable, even parasitic plants died in their little potted beds, and I woke up to their limp, waterlogged, blackened baby bodies. My evil children. Dead in their beds. I might wish that on my worst enemies.
And tonight, after a long, painful fight through the changing seasons, my beloved fiddle-leaf fig passed. How beautiful and vibrant it was. How it pulled the whole room together (eh…). How its large and successful-looking leaves made me feel accomplished and adult. Alas, it made it a whole six months before the final leaf fell, and now all I have left are two decaying stems, a haunting reminder of what once was.
I’ll never forget you. But I’ll probably replace you in the spring, let’s be honest.
In memoriam, I share with you one of my archived drafts from last fall, when I was in the throes of house-crop husbandry, shamelessly riding the wave of hipster/millennial faux-adulting by way of interior design.
Original title: Do You, Boo. And I’ll Do Me.
Well well well. Look at Washington Post trying to call me out on my lifestyle. Excuse me for trying to make my home my little Eden in this concrete jungle of shootings and subway delays and extortion and avocado bars I can’t afford. SO WHAT if I want to manufacture my own oxygen?! GLOBAL WARMING MUH’FUCKAS. We have a fascist toddler-king sitting in the White House who doesn’t believe in science, and you wanna judge me? For what I keep in my home? How about you mind your own damn home?
Certainly, there’s some truth to the pined-after Insta-worthy aesthetic, and the fact that yea, a lot of millennials in large cities are lonely, and plants are like a surrogate child. But I can think of worse obsessions. We are the generation entrusted to save the planet from crusty old white men who still believe a coal renaissance is the future of our country. I want us to be obsessed with plants, for whatever social media-related reasons. I want us to value living, breathing things. Not that house plants will solve deforestation of, say, the Amazon, but one thing might lead to another and who knows? Maybe one of those dudes featured on Boys with Plants will be motivated enough to—forgive me—branch out to natural and endangered ecosystems, I don’t fucking know.
Ok, sure, I relied heavily on Lauren Conrad’s Pinterest to tell me which plants to get—which ones would survive my millennial negligence and poor apartment lighting—and why yes, I do Instagram my children. But let me tell you something:
House plants will save us all. Biophilic design is the future of work spaces, as is rooftop farming.
And MUJI and boutique florists are probably the most expensive places to buy plants. Support your local bodega, or farmer’s market (like PetAl’s at Union Square Greenmarket), or even Trader Joe’s (I used to buy orchids there with my dad all the time). You don’t have to be a baller to “lean in” to this supposed hipster trend and buy plants that make your life less shitty. And you’re not “filling a void.” You’re just adding a bit of color to your world.
Now, if you really wanna fill the gaping hole where your heart used to be, adopt a rescue dog with mild psychological trauma.