“Cure for an obsession: Get another one.” ~Mason Cooley
I have a weirdness. It popped up in a conversation between Jason and I the other day. For a bit of a backstory, it began innocently enough, as it always does.
I was in the plant section, more specifically, the CLEARANCE (clear-ron-say, as I love to pronounce it) section of Lowe’s. Three sad and mostly dead African violets caught my eye. They were a whopping dollar each. And now let’s hit the backstory to my backstory: Ten years ago, I got an African violet. I don’t remember where I got it. It started innocently enough. A single plant, right? Then, as I started researched African violets, they have things called “suckers” which are little baby plants trying to come up from the base of the mother plant. This is not a good thing for your normal violet, because they will stop blooming. So, being the good plant stewardess that I was, I painstakingly removed each tiny embryonic baby from the mama with tweezers and a Xacto knife (sterilized, of course) and put them with gentle, loving care in a Jiffy greenhouse. You know, the giant ones with like 40 cells.
Then I discovered that there are things called “trailing” African violets, which, LONG AND VERY BORING STORY SHORT, suckers are NOT a bad thing and that’s just the ways trailers grow. Well, crud. So now I had approximately 41 trailing African violets. I will spare you the horror of the boring details, but I ended up doing hours and hours of research on how to BEST raise African violets, what they needed, what they hated, the Latin name, and heck, I may have joined the African Violet Society of America. I even gave a presentation (seriously) to our local garden club on African violet care.
Because you see, when I get fixated on something, I get FIXATED. I have to know all about it. I want you to ask me questions, because I am READY and PREPARED with an endless array of information and documentation and if I had been on Jeopardy and African violets were a subject, I would have stomped a mudhole in everyone else’s behind. Back to present-day Lowe’s:
I thought about my violet that I had ten years ago. I still miss “her”. (Yes, it was a ‘her’, and she had a name, though I can’t remember it) Here she was in her full glory. Be still my heart:
And the worst part was that I have no idea what happened to her. I am sure that, in the course of us moving and my subsequent obsessions, she suffered a terrible, neglectful death. But anyway, I got the violets at Lowe’s. I have babied them (one did die), pampered them, fertilized them, and given them the quarter-turn each and every day in their sunny, south-facing window. They have rewarded my patience and persistence by thriving and blooming:
But enter my weirdness. I don’t want just two African violets anymore. I want a hundred. I want a greenhouse full of African violets. I want so many that people can’t come into my house without falling over some Saintpaulia (if you don’t get it, don’t feel bad…it’s the nerd in me). I want so many that people will call me “that crazy violet lady”.
So naturally, a few weeks later I was in Lowe’s again and there was a FULL FLAT of sad, neglected AVs. Be still my heart. But they weren’t yet marked down and I’ll be danged if I pay more than a dollar each for a flowerless AV from Lowe’s when I know that’s what they mark them down to. Enter my DLS (dear long-suffering) husband. A week later, he has to go to Lowe’s. I beg him to go check on the flat. When he returns, it’s like Christmas. He scores fifteen violets…for a dollar a piece. I am giddy. It was better than getting a pony.
So later that night, he says, “Why is it that you can’t just have ONE of something?”
Me: I don’t know what you mean.
He (looking at me like I have lost it): You can’t just have one. Why do you have to get multiples of everything?
Me (puzzled look): I don’t know what you’re talking about.
He: We have six dogs, more chickens than anyone we know, like 10 parrots….(voice trails off)
Of COURSE I know what he means! It’s the same reason I couldn’t have a pair of zebra finches. I had to have 15. I couldn’t have one gerbil; I had to have every color so that I could, quite literally, be able to recreate ANY AND ALL possible color variations in the gerbil breeding world. I couldn’t have just one orchid; I had to save them all from Lowe’s and my kitchen window looked like a Brazilian rainforest minus the monkeys. I couldn’t just have “three or four” chickens, but instead I needed one (okay…more) of each breed known to mankind. One roll of washi tape? NO! I must have one representing each holiday, each possible vacation destination, and every color in the full Pantone color library.
But I have good news! I am older and I am tireder. Yes, tireder. And I am tired of having multiples of anything! Minimalism and my obsession to have a full set of 200 gel pens to go with my new coloring book do not mesh. So, I have been clearing out my past obsessions, and not putting anything else in their place.
Except African violets. Which I can justify because they do not poop nor do they shed. Those are some of my new requirements to come into my house.
Also, if you know where I could get a plant like my original AV, you are my new friend…I really do miss it and I will always make enough window space for one more!