Monday, February 13, 2006

I Cannot Return to the Nursery

I have a problem.

The guy at the Armstrong Nursery Center on Pacific Coast Highway thinks I am someone I am not. Though it’s partly my fault, I suppose, I can never go back there. I will have to drive fifteen minutes out of my way and purchase plant food or flowers or terra cotta pots or whatever at another location.

I don’t see any other solution.

I was dropping by with a soil sample to inquire about some funny little white bastards living in the pot of my lemon tree.

(Turns out they are soil gnats. There’s a spray you can get.)

The manager is a nice guy, although a little lispy; it grates on you if you hear it for too long.

Anyway, as I’m waiting for one of the high school kids who work there to retrieve my gnat-killing spray, the manager guy says to me “So how is that avocado tree doing?”

But see, I don’t have an avocado tree. Never did.

I’d tell the guy, except that he’s made this mistake once before and I didn’t hear the question or something and said "fine." So now he, in his mind, correctly associates me with avocado trees, but I still don’t have one.

I decide I have to fix up this confusion.

So I tell him that my avocado tree is doing fine but is not making any avocados. He asks what kind of exposure it gets and I say southeast. That’s the problem, he says. I agree.

Then, he asks me if I still work at Boeing.

I am not going to lie to the guy. A houseplant mistake is one thing - he just misremembered what kind of plant he sold me - no big deal, but a mistake on this order suggests he has confused me with another person altogether. So what do I do?

Naturally, I tell him no, I don’t work at Boeing still.

But before he can ask me about my kids or my boat or my trip to Senegal, I get out of there. And can you imagine if he saw me with my wife instead of the woman he might imagine me to be married to?

But obviously that will never happen because I can never return.


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