Stop eating food off the floor.
So the flower business happened. Boy, did it happen. I am now building a flower cart so I can take the whole build-your-own bouquet business on the road. I should tell you that I finally started editing the book I was writing at the same time I was working my fingers into a knot by removing trillions of thorns, and dropping things in front of people who were trying to enjoy themselves at parties. It was a harrowing time, but I got a ton of material and I met the most amazing people. I also learned some pretty interesting life lessons that I’d like to pass on to you my young readers/writers, fellow flower lovers:
- If you find something you like to do better than what you thought you were supposed to do, do the thing you like better instead.
- If someone isn’t nice to you, it’s probably because they’re a horrible person.
- No matter how hard you work, you will get old.
- Fortunately, you can always get plastic surgery and I recommend you do it sooner than later.
- People who have great difficulty learning English are nicer than people who can learn English. This is 100 percent true. I’ve met them all.
- The more overworked you are the more you can do.
- Wear socks. No one ever taught me this and I’m always cold and generally uncomfortable.
- If you’re good at something, people will ask you to do it for them for free. Just do it. Honestly, who cares? About anything.
- Surround yourself with beautiful things and try to write a little every day. You’ll always be happy.
- People steal.
I wrote another book. I never meant to, and I apologize in advance to all the people I will force to read it, including both of my children, my husband, and anyone else who steps foot in here. In the meantime, I will continue avoiding the editing process by playing with flowers all through the spring and summer. That’s how this whole flower thing got started in the first place. Turns out avoidance can be a very powerful tool if you use it to do something you love. I’ll be launching Millstone Flowers Memorial Day weekend in the Hamptons. I’ll keep you posted about the website: millstoneflowers.com. It should be up and running soon. I just have to stop changing my mind about what it should and shouldn’t be. So far I’ve ruled out game show and dating advice column. Those never work out for me.
My son, Jesse, the poor soul who got stuck designing the website. thinks it should be a place where people can visit to see and buy flowers, but do I really want to have to sell stuff to people? What if someone asks for something ugly? What if I fall asleep during business hours? What if I stub my toe? Any of these things could easily happen. But I guess that’s the chance I have to take to look at stuff like this all day instead of rewriting an entire book.
I woke up in the middle of the night thinking I might be a genius! I quickly shook awake my husband to tell him that I actually invented something in my sleep.
“This is it, honey!” I said.
“What is?” he asked.
“My invention. It’s gonna change lives. Especially the lives of flowers.”
“Ok, then,” he said.
“Don’t you want to know what it is?”
“I do and I don’t.”
Granted, it was a very odd hour for this kind of thing.
I proceeded to explain a device that would make it possible to transport liquids hands free. I had already come up with a few names for my invention. “The Water Porter” was one. The “H2-tOte” was another. There were others, but they weren’t as good.
“If this thing really takes off, let’s promise each other right now that we’ll never change.”
“Okay,” he yawned.
“I’ll have to go to the patent office first thing tomorrow,” I said. Mostly because of the handy strap I’d envisioned. If someone steals that part of the design, the whole concept will be ruined. The strap is the game changer.”
“You might not want to go first thing,” he said with one eye open.
“I think what you invented is called a thermos.”
I guess I was relieved in a way. Just thinking about all that marketing and advertising I was gonna have to do. The competition would have been fierce, what with the invention of water bottles and the like, and I’d have to set up a whole other Instagram account. Imagine all the photos I’d have to take of liquids: Soup, tea, juice. . .soda. And all the prints and patterns I’d have to draw by hand for the outside of the bottle. I can’t even draw a really believable tree.
“I guess I’ll go back to sleep then,” I said.
“It was a good idea though,” he yawned extra loudly. And we both went back to our dreams.
Photo credit: http://jennaanderson.com and www.ruffledblog.com (Campfire Wedding Inspiration)
Did I ever tell you about the time I tried to work in a flower shop in the Hamptons? I was so stressed out I lost two teeth. Fortunately, they were in the back. I love telling people how much I suffered in the whole month I worked there. I guess I didn’t realize working is work or how little I move while writing. I hadn’t anticipated the effects of using one’s muscles and I certainly had no idea what a dirty business I was falling in love with. The flowers were sprayed with all kinds of pesticides, stuck in that green toxic foam and sometimes sprayed again to make them smell like flowers. The whole thing was pretty scary, and yet it was one of the most beautiful looking shops I’ve ever been in. The flowers were perfect. Funny thing about beauty. So much of it is sprayed on. But the more I research, the more I’m finding gorgeous organic farms that only grow and sell clean flowers. I think if you’re going to work with something it’s important that you’re not afraid to touch it. The first thing on my to-do list is to plant an antique rose garden on our property. Those are the roses I love.The kind that look and smell like roses, and like they’re relaxing to the point that they’re practically falling out of the vase. The kind that don’t stand straight up in the air because they were manufactured to look like floral soldiers. The kind that are proud to be hundreds of years old. The kind that when you dream about them, they look like this.
The flower obsession is getting worse. I wake up thinking about flowers having fallen asleep thinking about flowers. I don’t know where this came from, but I’m pretty sure it’s not going away any time soon. I love buying flowers, I love designing them and forcing people to look at what I made, even while they’re working. The problem is I can’t stand the idea of throwing them away when they no longer look young and perky. It goes against everything I believe in. That’s why there are dead flowers all over my apartment in full vases of water. I’m hoping for some miracle that will bring them back to their former glory. In the meantime, I tell them the same thing I tell all the other aging beauties I know and love. Just drink.
Once again, my New Year’s resolution is to stop talking. So far, and I believe this is the 50th year I’ve tried this, I’ve been unsuccessful. I can’t seem to stop blogging about how bloated I am, writing books about people who do terrible things, many of which never see the light of day, or giving people advice about how to remove or grow more hair. A lot of people feel they have the right amount of hair, and that’s fine. Honestly, who am I to tell them they don’t. In lieu of my unwanted advice, I’m going back to my 2017 resolution, which was to only give you flowers. Flowers are the thing I love most in the world, aside from my family, and talking. When I can’t write, I buy flowers and take thousands of pictures of them. I dream of having a flower business one day and giving up writing for good. Flowers are better than me. They don’t tell people what to do, they certainly don’t suggest giving up dairy to strangers, and they don’t have crippling social anxiety. They don’t do anything, really, except make people feel better by not talking. So, here we go. One more time. Just flowers. From me to you. For as long as I can stand it.
I’m gonna tell my “me too” story, even though it doesn’t even remotely compare to the pain and suffering that so many others have endured. No one touched me. No one got near me, and no one got in trouble, but all these years later, I still think about what could have happened…if I hadn’t been so incredibly lazy.
A few weeks after graduating college, I got an internship with an advertising agency in New Jersey. About a month into the job, I got invited by one of the partners to go to Philadelphia to attend a party hosted by a radio station. The party was at a fancy hotel and he booked us each a room. All of this sounded very glamorous to me until my only friend at the agency, one of the other interns, stopped talking to me. In retrospect, she probably knew more about our boss than I did.
At the party, my boss introduced me to a bunch of people, and then he asked me if I wanted to go smoke a joint with him. I really didn’t want to. He always had a few little crumbs lodged in his mustache and I didn’t want to accidentally come in contact with his leftovers. I politely declined, and he disappeared for several hours. At about midnight, he came up to me and said he was going back up to his room. He said something to his friend about a pair of coconuts that I didn’t quite catch, and I knew he’d had a lot to drink. There was something desperate about him, and he was sweating. I told him I was tired, too, and ready to turn in for the night. His friend got in the elevator with us. I remember thinking that was weird.
When we got to my floor, my boss and the other guy both got out and followed me to my room. As I was opening my door, my boss asked if they could come in.
“I’m kind of tired,” I said, “But thanks for inviting me. Fun party. And it was nice to meet you,” I said to the other guy.
“Are you sure we can’t come in?” his friend asked.
“I’m pretty exhausted. I’ll see you in the morning,” I said, and shut my door.
I got undressed, I put the TV on, and got under the covers.
A few minutes later, there was a knock on my door.
It was my boss.
“Can I come in for just a minute? I’m alone this time,” he said.
“I’m in bed already,” I called out to him.
“That’s okay. I only need to come in for a second. I think I might have dropped half a joint on the floor in your room,” he said.
“You didn’t come in here, remember?” I reminded him.
“I think I gave it to you then. Can I come in and at least take a look around?”
We both knew he hadn’t been in my room, and I knew he hadn’t given me anything, but I was dumb enough to think he was frantically searching everywhere for his joint. Had I been even the tiniest bit less lazy, I might have let him in, but I just didn’t feel like getting up and getting dressed again. That’s what saved me.
“I promise there’s no pot in here, or I would have smoked it,” I assured him.
“Can you just let me in?” he asked, not as nice.
“Sorry, I’m almost asleep,” I said.
“Don’t be stupid. Let me in,” he said, sounding like a completely different person, angry and mean, and almost panic-stricken.
I didn’t answer him. A few minutes later, he lightly knocked again, but I stayed quiet. I knew he was sitting down outside my door by that point. The knocks were getting lower. I felt a little guilty that I was being so rude, but not guilty enough to actually get out of bed.
We were scheduled to leave the next morning. He was my ride home. He didn’t talk to me the whole way, and he dropped me on the side of the highway somewhere near the office. I remember thinking this is kind of a dangerous place to drop someone off and then it occurred to me that he wanted me to feel like something you would find on the side of the road. I didn’t quite register the depths of the insult until much later when I told the story to my father and saw the look of horror on his face.
The next day, I told all the other partners and interns what happened. I told them how he insisted that he left something in my room. How he stood outside my door, quietly knocking, on and off, for what felt like hours, and how he left me on the side of the road. And then I quit.
The truth is I’d been planning to quit anyway. I’d worked there about a month by the time the invitation to the party rolled around, and felt that was more than enough time to work anywhere.
Fortunately, I didn’t need the job. It was an unpaid internship and their biggest client was Buick, which, at the time, was like saying Edsel. But, what would have happened if I needed that job to support my family? What if I needed that guy to like me? Or, what if I’d been polite enough to get off my ass and respect the fact that my drunk boss needed to look for his joint, whether he knew damn well it wasn’t in my room or not? Anything could have happened. I’m just grateful I was too stupid and lazy to answer the door.