There are times when I think I am living in a body of the wrong age. I love going to bed and waking up early, reading (I checked out 18 books from the library to get me through COVID lockdown), and, aside from many bookshelves, would love for my home to be filled with a slightly excessive amount of plants. In particular, small plants like succulents, because they are both beautiful and hard to kill.
With my arguable elderly vision of a house, I set off in search of some plants. Despite my 83-year-old desires, my 23-year-old abilities seamlessly navigated me through Facebook Marketplace (what a magical tool!) to an adorable set of Spider Plants 2.4 miles away.
Based on photos from the advertisements, my new roommates were a good, healthy size. Probably big enough that I recruited my mom to come along on the arduous trek with me. If worst came to worst, we would just give in and take a bus home.
Before we could even contemplate our return trip, we had to survive 2.4 miles. I know, I know, it’s really not that big of a deal. We thought that, too. At first.
It started off pleasantly enough with a stroll through the park. Children swirling around on the playground after finishing Friday at school, dogs chasing balls convinced that it will disappear if they don’t follow fast enough, and couples meandering hand in hand. This was my kind of afternoon walk!
It wasn’t until leaving the safe haven of the park that we realized the impending doom of our walk: a ‘hill’ that must be the spitting image of the base of Mount Everest. Steep, long, and unforgiving. Meanwhile, my mom and I are short with little legs and 85% of our physical makeup is chocolate. I’d say that’s about an even match, right?
The only thought that kept me going was picking up my new Spider Plants. I would display them in my house like a badge of honor or trophy, the plants emitting all of the oxygen I was currently struggling to get into my lungs.
As a gift to ourselves, my sister and I invested in a personal trainer at the gym. We wanted to get healthy, fit, and strong. Two or three days a week we would meet with our trainer and sweat enough to recreate our own Dead Sea. We were convinced our progress (and muscles) were big! This ‘hill’ certainly told us otherwise.
By the time we reached the top, I had shed my coat, despite the November chill. Boy, was I getting a refund. Luckily, the top of the hill lead to another park, where my mom and I ogled at cute dogs and their owners might have been concerned that their dogs could be smarter than us. Yes, if you speak to a dog in a high-pitched baby voice, they really can understand you.
We picked up the pace as the sun started to slip behind the trees. The fact that it was almost dark at 4:30, and the days are only getting shorter, is unfathomable to me. I belong with the sun and sand.
By this point, though, we were almost there. Just to climb and overpass, turn left onto the next lane, and we were there. Our trek and sweat would be worth it for the luscious Spider Plants.
House by house, counting down the numbers, we came to the front porch step where the plants were supposed to be. As I double checked the area, a rogue squeak of laughter escaped from Mom’s throat. I looked at her eyes, now welling with comedic tears, then back to the porch step.
Instead of my radiant plants that would be so large we’d prefer to take the bus home, there were two sprouts of grass in petite plastic containers. I could hold them both in one hand. The big bag we brought certainly wasn’t needed, nor the bus.
2.4 miles up Mount Everest and this is what we came for. Tragic at first, I was soon doubled over cackling like a Hyena and crying a river. My Spider Plants were probably the size of actual spiders.
We quickly scuttled down the road so as not to disturb the neighbors – we clearly weren’t from around here – and packed our pride into the tiny pots as well.
After we finally regained a reasonable amount of composure, Mom looked over at me and said, “At least the walk home is all downhill from here.”