I recently decided to begin fiddling with twitter and am reveling in my popularity. In virtually no time -- just a few weeks--I have ten followers. Some might say eight, since the list includes my daughter and my sister who charitably plonked my twitter follow button, which will probably be the end of their involvement with my communications.
I can't blame them, since I have myself been adamant about this form of social networking being a complete waste of time, a bunch of fools stroking each other while talking to themselves, a pyramid scheme of sorts - I read, in some internet instruction that if you just follow a bunch of twits, likely they'll have some mechanism set up to automatically follow you back and you'll quickly build a following!
Of people that are talking to themselves.
That is the way I felt about twitter until approximately 20 minutes ago when -- while searching for something worthwhile to retweet to my ten (or eight) followers -- I came across a tweet that led to a retweet that led to Tropical Britain, which unsurprisingly is in Great Britain, and a photograph of the Dranunculous vulgaris, also known as: Dragon Lily, Dragon Arum, Black Arum, Voodoo Lily, Snake Lily, Stink Lily, Black Dragon, Black Lily, Dragonwort, Ragons, Drakondia, Wake Robin, Dragon's Tongue, and Devil's Tongue.
I gasped in wonderment at its strangeness--thinking I would go to great lengths to posses one. Possibly even moving to the land of drizzle and mutton -- no offense to my British friends.
Sadly, it was sold out.
However, I quickly found it at plantdelights.com, which is serendipitously located in Raleigh, North Carolina, which is a helluva lot closer to here than England and is also where my daughter happens to be living for the moment. And where I will be visiting next Friday, as she has obtained a couple of tickets to a David Sedaris reading which is as good a reason as any to test out Mega Bus.
This is neither here nor there, since it is a mail order company.
Besides being enamored with the plant -- which is strikingly vulgar in appearance (a particularly illustrative example is at http://www.tropicalbritain.co.uk/dracunculus-vulgaris.html) and no matter what you call it is perfectly named for Halloween -- I am enamored with the copy, which really MUST BE READ. I emphasize that because I am usually guilty of skipping extensive quotes, for some reason considering them to be superfluous or padding or somesuch.
I also usually read from the center of an article down, figuring if the middle is good I'll start again at the beginning. That is also neither here nor there.
To return to the quote:
"Dranunculous vulgari (formerly Amorphophallus rivieri v. konjac, Hydrosme rivieri) This unusual tuberous plant has one giant divided leaf on top of a 5-6' tall, green and purple mottled, fleshy stalk (petiole). When old enough, the tuber produces a fascinating 6' flower (early May, before the leaf emerges), resembling a giant vase made from the purple vinyl used for cheap '70s car seats. The vase (spathe) is home to a 3' purple spadix that sits atop a 2' speckled petiole...gather your neighbors for the flowering ritual. After flowering, the plant may rest for a couple of months before the leaf emerges in late June. The mother tuber will form offsets, eventually making a giant clump...STRANGE! We ship quarter-sized or larger tubers that are 3-4 years from flowering size."
BY GOD a plant that resembles cheap vinyl '70s car seats? And can grow 6 feet tall? How have I never heard of it?
And it will grow in the shade! And grow in the cold! Both of which I have in spades! And I can create a ritual around it with my neighbors. And, of course, what shall I wear?
I'm not sure if it will bloom this spring or several springs from now (or why it was formerly know as Amorphophallus rivieri v. konjac, Hydrosme rivieri, which was kind of catchy), but it's only twenty bucks and at the very least one should support such glorious writing.
AND I WANT ONE.
So I immediately dispatched an email reminder of the imminence of my birthday to my sister and my daughter -- figuring they'd probably both miss my tweet.