Duncan's Tale

I'm a shmuk. I admit it. I actually do believe in love at first sight. I'm not saying it always works that way - but every now and then, you meet someone new and you feel it. There's something there. Something more than the cutesie flirty nice to meet ya.

Shortly after arriving in Portland in the fall of 2002, I met someone special. We went for a drink. After that, we walked... and we walked... and we talked. The conversation was hilarious one moment and very deep the next. We got lost in endless tangents while we walked for miles.

We saw each other every day for the next month and a half, and then it ended as abruptly as it began. She wasn't ready for a relationship.

It happens.

I was sad to lose her, but I have no hard feelings at all. Even though it didn't work out, the time we'd spent together served as a reminder that *YES* I can have it all. I can have a best friend. A love. Someone to tell silly stories to. Someone to ponder the meaning of life with. I can be that person for someone. She, however, wasn't ready to be that person for me.

The more time she'd spent at my place, the more my place started to feel like a home. It felt alive. When she broke up with me, my place suddenly felt dead.

I decided to do something about it.

NOTE: My mind works in strange ways sometimes, so this may not make sense to you - but it worked for me.

I bought a plant.

I don't know anything about plants beyond the whole dirt & water thing. Hell, I don't even know what you call a place where they grow & sell plants - but that's where I went.

As I walked up and down the isles of plants, I'd swear they were leaning away from me & muttering "no no - pick HIM! Not me, pick HIM! Isn't he green and leafy? Yes he is - pick HIM!" I guess they could tell I'm the plant version of the plague. It's true.

I asked the plant-shop-guy a million questions but understood none of the answers.

Eventually, I decided to buy this one:

He [the plant] had a look of "oh shit!" as I picked him up and proudly carried him to the counter. "I'll take this one!" I grinned, but the plant sighed.

It was a long quiet ride home. Not that I expected my plant to speak to me - but if he could have, he still wouldn't have... though I'd swear I heard him singing Depeche Mode at one point:

"I don't want to start
any blasphemous rumors
but I think that god's got
a sick sense of humor
and when I die
I expect to find
him laughing"

When he started singing "Fly On The Windscreen ("...death is everywhere...") I told him to shut up, and he did. That's when it dawned on me that the poor little guy was most likely doomed. I know jack-squat about plants and, somehow, he KNEW it.

I decided that I'd need a way to remember what kind of plant he was so that in the event of his inevitable demise... when I'd call the plant version of 911, well... they'd ask "What kind of plant do you have?"

"I guess it's a green one... with leaves."

Surely that answer would not do. I'd already been told what kind of plant he was three times, and I'd forgotten equally as many. So - I decided to name him something that would help me remember.

I named him Duncan because he's a Dumb-Cain. Save the jokes because, believe me, he's heard 'em.

It took about nine months for Duncan and I to come to terms with each other. OK, it didn't help that I'd forget to water him... or that he was still living in the tiny pot he came in. I tried to make him happy by giving him a little plant food. What a crock! Within a week or two his soil molded over... and boy did he look pissed.

There were times I'd come home to find him leaning towards the windows, looking out at all of the people who'd make better owners than I. Yeah, I was offended - but he was usually right. There was one time when he was pointing at a homeless guy pushing a shopping cart that contained all of his belongings, and I can't imagine that Duncan would have been happier with him... but, whatever. You know how melodramatic plants can be.

Eventually I repotted him & put his water-schedule in my iCal calendar on my Mac. He's been happy ever since. In fact, these days, we're the best of friends. We laugh, we cry, we swap stories. OK, I do the talking and he does the listening - but still - it's a relationship that works.

::::: | Friday, May 07 2004 at 1:16 PM
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