The Spider Plant Saga – a.k.a. Peter and M.J.’s Not-So-Grand Adventure

Recently someone suggested I get some plants for my room. Since I value this person’s opinion and since I could always use an extra dose of Oxygen — hey, who couldn’t? — when my friends Mike and Rebecca offered me a peaked-looking plant in their living room window, I eagerly agreed. He was a spider plant, so I immediately named him Peter Parker and resolved to nurse him back to excellent health — this being opposite of my usual M.O. of taking perfectly healthy plants and killing them in record-breaking time.

I brought Peter home, watered him and left him in the sink overnight, and the very next day, instead of procrastinating for weeks, which again would have been the usual protocol, installed a hook into my bedroom ceiling, tied a pretty ribbon onto it, and hooked his pot onto the pretty ribbon, where he has been hanging for the last few days and at least in my imagination seems to be improving health-wise.

But tonight I got home and something unsettled me a little bit. Nothing even tangible, but something about his leaves gave me a very, very slight case of the willies. And this reminded me of why I didn’t already have a room full of plants, why I’ve never even purchased one single houseplant, at least not for myself. I will make no bones about it — plants are creepy! I look at Peter, and it’s like his leaves are tentacles lurching out at me, or maybe they’re strands of hair on the head of a tiny troll submerged in the dirt of the pot. Either way, there’s no escaping the fact that plants are alive, and just because they don’t speak doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t plotting a coup against all animal life. It makes me shiver.

Mind you, I’ve never gotten anything but friendly vibes from Peter. I assume he must be grateful to me for rescuing him from the negligent parenting of my friends and giving him water, sunlight, and his own hook in the ceiling where he can swing merrily all day and observe goings-on from high up. I mean, he should be grateful! But plants need more than water, sunlight, and prime real estate, from what I’m told. Like animals, plants, I’m told, also need love. And folks, I’m just not sure I’m ready for that. I’m just not sure I’m ready.

*****

Update: I wrote this about a year ago and didn’t post it for whatever reason. I’m pleased to announce Peter is still alive and has accompanied me to my new apartment (new as of last March). The bad news is, my plant-care habits have waned down to a level that keeps young Pete alive, but barely. I regret to admit that he is much less full than he was at his peak. (His health really did improve at my last house; I’m thinking it was all the sunlight. Oh, and the watering). In fact, about a third of him died altogether. There were about three sets of spriggles planted in his pot, and one set completely died. Also, he had a baby! Who died. Not sure how familiar you are with spider plants, but when they’re healthy, they form baby spider plants at the ends of their tentacles; and he did, and I intended to plant the baby and let her grow up and name her M.J., but alas, she died, and it’s all my fault. I did find her pretty creepy, but I didn’t mean to kill her. Sigh.

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