I Just Watched My Boss Water Plastic Flowers
We were called in for an early morning meeting.
A leadership meeting where we provide each other with an overview of our respective departments — where we are, where we’re going.
On the desk sit purple orchids. Robust, beautiful, vibrant purple orchids that are flourishing in an office.
On a desk, with no sun light. A delicate and notoriously temperamental orchid.
They’re the kind of plastic flower where the stems have those little plastic green balls at the end that the flowers stick onto. A few flowers had broken off, the green balls just sticking into the air.
Midway through the meeting, she takes a styrofoam cup off the desk and walks to the water fountain adjacent to the office. She returns and dumps the entire cup into the vase the flowers occupy.
In between the green sticks with their little plastic balls flows the nourishing water.
I hear the new water splash into the old water, still present from last month’s feeding. She’s nodding as she does it, agreeing with an idea regarding the direction of our organization. Clearly smug because of her horticulture skills (I mean, who else can recreate the Amazon under such inhospitable conditions?), she sits back down, returns the cup to the desk and resumes administrating.
The flowers are waiting for next month, where they will likely be drowned.
My first reaction was to chuckle, my second was to point it out to her.
I went with my third reaction: The limitless pit of introspection about what this could mean for the status of earth and all of its inhabitants.
I mean, this is an accomplished human being. If she can achieve what she’s achieved with this profound lack of perception, literally anything is possible.
There’s a good chance I was overthinking this. But her lack of perception transcended both senses and time.
The sound of water splashing on water.
The total lack of a floral smell.
The sight of obvious, unnatural green bulbs that appear when the flowers break (not fall) off. The clack of a plastic flower hitting a wooden desk when they do.
The feel of plastic when your knuckle brushes against the petals, making way for the styrofoam dixie cup.
And the fact that this has been an ongoing perception, unencumbered by significant facts pointing to the obvious. The perception has withstood time and reality.
She didn’t see it as fake because she didn’t want to. She wants to view herself as being an amazing orchid-master, able to recreate Eden in even the most dire of circumstances.
She picked her belief and didn’t see the obvious. And who can blame her? She’s a lot more content this way.
I can’t walk away from this and offer any profound advice — only the question…
What is my plastic flower? Because I know I have field of them, we all do.