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Posts Tagged ‘Botany’

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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