The threat of dead house plant

April 24, 2017 by Jen

Geronimo is a big, beautiful, waxy green spathiphyllum* who is 3.5 feet tall and at least that wide. After some initial hesitation at his sheer size, I have grown to appreciate his presence in my tiny apartment. These plants are known to be easy care, long living, and helpful in purifying the air.

The problem is, I am not good at keeping things alive, and when Geronimo dies, there will be a lot of dead house plant draped over my living room.

That’s one reason I avoid owning plants. Or being angry.

(Was that transition too abrupt? I’ve been told I do that sometimes. Don’t be mad.)

Recently, I was telling a story about something predictable yet frustrating. It was the kind of story that ends when you snort and roll your eyes and shake your head. It usually ends with, “Go figure. Moving on.”

But twenty minutes later, I was pacing around my apartment, restless, still thinking about it. It took me another twenty minutes of pacing to realize that I was angry.


I held up the emotion and just studied it, like a creature I hadn’t seen in a long time–like a big gnarly house plant with glitter on its leaves. My thoughts, in order:

“That’s interesting.”

“This is weird.”

“I hate glitter.”

“What now?”

Anger is not unlike Geronimo, the way I see it. Anger may be popular, normal, even healthy in the average American life, but you eventually have to figure out what to do with it when it gets too big or starts to smell.

My typically solution is to avoid admitting anger, but that means I miss out on the healthy role it plays in clearing the air.

That was two weeks ago.

Today, I’m getting used to having a plant in the house. I’m aware of it, but it doesn’t get in the way as much as I thought it might. I keep an eye out for rotting leaves, and I might have to prune it back at some point, but it adds a pop of color to an otherwise sparse decorating scheme.

And I’m glad to have a bit of anger in my life now and then. It doesn’t get in the way as much as I think it will. I keep an eye out for self-destructive anger, and I might have to apologize for it now and then, but it keeps me honest, and I’m definitely glad it’s less than 3.5 feet tall.

Geronimo, just stay away from the glitter, and I think we’ll be fine.

The end.

*And yes, I recognize the irony of personifying anger as a peace lily.
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