I’m not a fan of flowers, or at least not real ones. I like paintings of flowers. I like buying fancy parchment with flowery borders. I like writing poems about purple irises, yellow daffodils and pink tulips. I like doodling roses on my notepad during boring office meetings. I like the idea of throwing the bouquet at weddings, and the idea of corsages for high school dances, and the dream of having a garden with a rainbow array of flowers to spend Sunday afternoons drinking tea and reading murder mystery novels. I like so many things about flowers, but I don’t like real flowers.
I like how flowers look in paintings, but never stop to appreciate the flowers growing in my neighbor’s yard. They attract every bug under the sun, and the air around those flowers hums from the wings of a thousand honey bees. I’m not particularly afraid of bees, and I know that bees help pollinate crops, thus feeding me, and yet I always move quickest when I’m fleeing a bundle of bees.
I like flowers in the borders of my parchment, but the open spaces lining my fence remain patches of untilled soil. Some color would brighten up my backyard, perhaps even increase its resale value when the time comes in a few years, but I can’t be bothered with most physical tasks anymore, and gardening is #1 on my list of pointless activities to avoid.
I like writing about flowers, because there’s a flower for every feeling. A purple iris evokes a somber tone, letting me express midnight regrets. Yellow daffodils are just mini, pluckable Suns, reminiscent of mild summer afternoons. Pink tulips remind me of the most provocative lipsticks I have ever seen, and they shade my world in the perfect amount of lust. But I’ve never had a tulip touch my lips, nor picked a daffodil in the summer sun, and I’ve never cried at night within sight of an iris.
I like doodling roses, because they are easy to draw, at least for me. I don’t really have to think about it, I just let my pen circle around the center of my paper until the general shape is in place. A few, strong lines here, some sharp curves there, and everybody recognizes what it is I’m drawing. It’s that recognition that I like, because my doodling isn’t some expression of art, it’s to try and garner attention from my fellow bored co-workers. I want to catch their eyes, so I draw something I can draw well, something everyone will recognize, and a rose fits the bill.
I like flowers at weddings and dances and filling up my world with color while I escape into a book, but that’s because it’s ingrained into my ideas of those things. I didn’t picture my wedding with flowers; the world never gave me a view of a wedding without them. I didn’t look forward to getting a corsage for my senior prom, but my parents wouldn’t take my picture without one choking my wrist. And I already spend my Sundays drinking tea and reading murder mysteries, and all from the comfort of my hand-me-down recliner, but every time I’ve ever seen an old lady enjoying retirement, it’s from the supposed comfort of a flowery garden escape.
I’m not a fan of flowers, or at least not real ones. That may seem contradictory, but to me it lines up with real life perfectly. We use flowers to celebrate our happiest days, but we also lay them down in front of our gravestones. We use flowers to show somehow how much we love them on holidays and anniversaries, but also to beg for forgiveness when we royally screw things up. We use flowers to color-in our front yards, backyards and every space in between, but still live in a world that creates inequality based on the color of a person’s skin.
So, I don’t like flowers, but I like the idea of flowers, because those ideas are much lovelier than the truth.