I’m not really into plants, but when getting rid of the rest of their junk (which involved hiring a skip) I was pottering around too much to plant the pot plant in the hired plant, causing my plans to go to pot. The sight of this bedraggled greenery hanging around my house made me water it twice and now it’s thriving. Which creates an issue: I now feel responsible for the bugger, as if it were a recently discovered child.
Say it loud: I am not the kind of person who owns pot plants.
My interior decor tastes are somewhat stark, and aspidistras don’t sit well with me. (It’s probably not an aspidistra, but the word ‘aspidistra’ for me conjures up exactly the right image of the sort of middle-class British homeowners who own houseplants, so I’ll refer to it as an aspidistra until told otherwise.) Yet against all odds this cluttering chunk of inedible uselessness sitting in dirt has survived several weeks under my roof when I’ve never had so much as a flower on a shelf in my life.
And now, the plant is beginning to take over. It sits in the corner of the room, malevolent and cunning. Watching. Waiting.
I should have been sensible and thrown it out the day I moved back in. And now, I fear, it may be too late. The plant has asserted its right to be here, and throwing it in the garbage is an act of callousness I’m not sure I’m capable of.
This is dangerous. I have become, through no fault of my own, a houseplant owner. That puts me on a very, very slippery slope. A slope that ends in defeat: sliding towards the crushing normality of everyday life, where banality and numbness rule, where excitement means getting a letter published in the Daily Mail, adventure means a one-week package holiday and the limit of risk is eating an After Eight Mint at 7.30.
This plant represents all I despise most deeply. It is, to me, no longer a houseplant: it is a symbol. And symbols are so much harder to destroy.
I made a mistake. I left it too long. I allowed this plant – this thing – to establish itself in my life, making it so much more difficult to remove it. Can I correct this mistake? Is it too late? And even if I destroy the plant… will the symbol remain, to taunt me forever?
Wonder if they’d notice if I just planted it in the park?