I'm not certain that this is a good development. I've always held the idea that my life here is full of too much travel and transition to be able to be responsible for the well being of a plant.
But this is what happened:
I was on my way out this morning and I rounded the corner in the neighborhood. There, his bicycle loaded with greenery, was the plant selling man.
"Ah," he said, "You want plants."
Well, maybe. It was sort of true. My balcony was terribly bare and in need of them, but...
"Look at this one," he knew he'd caught my attention, "It's very nice."
"How many?" he asked.
But I was on my way out! "Not now. Not today," I told him.
"Why not today? I am here today. Here you are. Tomorrow these nice ones will be gone."
Right. He was right.
So back I went, plant man following.
At the foot of the stairs, he unloaded his plants from the bicycle. Then he tried to talk me into buying all of them.
"You won't take all? Okay, you need these six."
"Okay, these five."
"Do you want me to take these five up the stairs for you?"
"No, only four."
"I will bring them." He carried the five plants up.
We talked price and came back again to plant five. "Oh but Madame, don't make me take it back down again. Look how nice it is. How well it would look over there for you."
It was a nice plant. But it didn't look as hardy as the others. In other words, easier to die of neglect if I go away for a few weeks. "If this one stays, you must give me a very good discount."
"Of course, Madame, this one is like a gift to your home."
Sure. Was it free? No, it was not.
The plant man left then with promises to return to re-pot the plants for me the next day. That's a pretty good bit to throw into the bargain, 'cause where in the world am I going to find dirt? I mean, besides the kind that accumulates in my house everyday as soon as I'm finished dusting.
Is he going to come back to water and prune them for me, too? ...Probably not a good idea that he hang around so much.
I've no intention of killing these four new additions to my home, but great hope for their survival. Now begins the experiment: we'll see who lives.