It’s late afternoon, late summer, and Michelle and I are staring at the sad, pulpy, barely recognizable remains of what was (once) an African Violet.
“What you need,” She says brightly, “Is a confidence booster plant. You need a cactus!”
Sure! A cactus! What could go wrong with a cactus!
I mean, how could my house possibly be less capable of supporting life than a desert?
One of my gecko tanks managed to grow some kind of mutant lichen that doubled in size over the course of four hours. No lie.
It was yellow.
I named it Carl.
Three days later, I headed homeward with Alfred, one of those little cacti with the hot pink straw flowers glued to them.
… I don’t think I could’ve put more pressure on myself than if I’d just gone ahead and adopted a special needs baby instead.
Every day, that cactus was the first thing I checked on in the morning, and the last thing at night.I made a beeline for his little plastic pot every day after work. I bought a clay sensor to tell when he needed watering. I did enough research on potted cacti to write a doctoral thesis. No way I going to screw up a cactus!
Finally, a week later, I came home to be lovingly jumped on by Murphy, my cattle dog mix, and Tiva, my Ex boyfriend’s husky.
Let me give you some background on said Husky.
Everything my plants weren’t, she was. This dog was made of cast iron. Under the ever-watchful eye of Nathaniel, she had managed to consume at one time or another a lithium prescription (avec bottle!), a quarter pound of Miracle Gro, a pan of brownies, fourteen Valium, a plastic Doritos bag, and six percocet. All of which are unappetizing, and all of which are at least more than slightly harmful. Regardless, they are nonetheless thorn less.
For those of you playing the home game, the dog ATE the ENTIRE goshcrapped cactus.
Okay. So. It’s not really her fault, I concluded.
Next time, I will Do Better!
So I purchased Cactus No. 2, fondly remembered as Matilda. She wasn’t the same type as Alfred, being one of those little rounded fuzzy looking ones instead of a tall prickly one, so I decided to keep her in a bearded dragon tank, where Nate’s husky (however voracious) would be unable to get to her.
Let me tell you something about your average pet store cricket.
Large ones average three quarters of an inch to an inch in length, and are relatively indiscriminate feeders. However, these are animals that when placed in a cardboard box with a pile of leafy greens, grated apples, commercial cricket diet, breakfast cereal, potato, wheat germ, wet sea sponges, gel cricket drink, and a 3×5 index card legibly printed with the words “FREE ALL YOU CAN EAT BUFFET! YUM!” will still choose to eat the box.
And then the card.
And then die from dehydration.
So it was with understandable surprise that I came home the next day to find Matilda’s lifeless, barrel like corpse, hollowed out into some form of edible insect metropolis.
I give up.
I’m just going to get a pet rock and paint it green.
I’m no longer vegetarian because I like animals.
…I just really, really hate plants.
Michelle told me a cactus would boost my confidence. What Michelle didn’t know, though, was that the Mojave is more capable of supporting life than my house.