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Archive for October, 2008

On being a botanist

Most of the time, being a botanist and my associated botanical knowledge is viewed by the general public as being completely useless. Usually, when someone asks what I do for a living and I fill them in, they sort of smile uncomfortably and then don’t talk to me anymore. I’m not sure if it is because they don’t actually know what a botanist is, or if they find that so incredibly boring that they can’t take it. But, every now and then my unusual profession comes in handy with some everyday knowledge that really saves the day.

Like last night in the grocery store when I was approached in the floral section by a panicked looking man about my age, for instance.

“Excuse me, can you help me?” he spits out. I am taken aback. Partly because I do not like talking to strangers in the grocery store, and partly because I am near the floral section and he is male and it is 10 pm- bad combo. But I nod, hesitantly.

“What’s a tulip?” he asks. I look at him like he is completely insane. “I need to know what a tulip looks like. It’s my anniversery, and it’s my wife’s favorite flower.”

I must have been looking at him like he was from another planet, because he takes a step back.

“A TULIP?” I say. Now I can’t figure out if he is completely full of shit, and attempting to hit on my in the floral section? But he just said the word “wife” in a sentence, so that can’t be. Besides, I’m wearing my hideously tight yoga outfit which I know does not do me much justice.

He nods eagerly.

“I’m sorry, but you don’t know what a TULIP is?” I exclaim. He admits to me, that no, he doesn’t. I am extremely glad he is not my husband. For one thing, it’s 10 pm on his anniversery and he hasn’t done anything about it yet. Another thing, he doesn’t even know what his wife’s favorite flower looks like. And finally, for Christ’s sake, he doesn’t even know what a freakin’ tulip looks like. He doesn’t even know that he is currently asking a BOTANIST what a TULIP is at the current moment.

It takes him three minutes to convince me that he is not bullshitting me and No, he really doesn’t know what a Tulip is, and then I fill him in that there are no tulips located in the floral section and that it is actually totally the wrong time of year for tulips.

He shrugs at me. “Well do you think roses would be OK?”

I shrug back at him, and he thanks me for trying to help him, and rushes off with his roses. Once again, an intrepid botanist saves the day. I think he needs more help than I have to give, though.

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Election anxiety

I have self diagnosed myself with “election anxiety”. My symptoms include:

-a strong burning desire to leave the country for the election, in the event that the results are not in my candidate’s favor.

-an inability to discuss anything about politics without feeling hopeless and miserable and angst ridden.

-an profound ability to sound confrontational even when discussing politics with people who agree with me wholeheartedly.

-a roller coaster of emotions depending on which way the polls swing. If the polls swing in my favor, I am flooded with a sort of tentative relief. If the polls swing the other way, I spend a lot of time threatening to move to Panama and casting dispersions on our country.

-nervousness when speaking to anyone about anything if I don’t know how they stand within the political spectrum.

-a reddening of my face when driving in the country and observing campaign signs that are not for my candidate of choice.

-an inability to listen or watch any news at all. My sole news source is the NY times, which is in favor of my candidate, or a brief scan of cnn-dot-com headlines to see if there is positive news about my candidate. I only click on the news of which the headlines seem to spin my candidate in a favorable light.

-an overwhelming hatred of Track, Trig, Bristol, and whatever other ridiculous morons were produced by a ridiculous moronic woman with a bee hive. This symptom is accompanied by a very real desire to take this said person in question and, as Chris Rock would say, “shake the shit out of her”.

-strong memory recall of the last presidential election, after which I drank too much whiskey and ran around town screaming at people that they were apathetic.

If anyone knows of any cures, I’m on the hunt. Thanks.

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