Ananas commotious

The very minute I had entered the Conservatory Plant Sale with Jane and Jeff, I split from my friends and made a bee-line towards the bromeliad table. After straining my neck and walking briskly around the outside of the horse-shoe table, I finally found what I had come to Capitol Hill for. And better yet, I had seven different pineapple plants to choose from. I took my time examining each one and selected one with the least damaged leaves, although it also contained the smallest and greenest fruit that might not ripen with the upcoming fall skies. Carefully carrying my coveted prize, I weaved in and out of the booths, trying my best not to stab strangers with sharp leaves that jutted out in all directions. If I was ever to become a comic book hero, I realized that this should be my weapon of choice. “Prickly Pineapple, the Piercinating! She’ll stab out your eyes and finish you off with her castration boots!”

After browsing through the booths over and over again, randomly running into my friends who were experiencing the same overwhelming feeling of “plant overload”, I finally managed to tear myself away from the drainage of money and make my way towards the exit and pay booth. As I crossed the small taped off section of lawn, fellow plant lovers who had previously expressed annoyance at being stabbed by my weapon suddenly turned into admirers of the small fruit proudly protruding from an otherwise unremarkable plant. What soon followed was the chaos otherwise known as the “gotta have it” phenomena compulsive buyers suffer from.

“Oh wow! A pineapple! Where’d you get that?”

“A pineapple! Where are they?!?”

“Where did you get that pineapple plant?”

“The bromeliads,” I said, no longer feeling overwhelmed by the selection of plants but rather by the demanding voices that came from all directions.

“Excuse me, miss. Can I have your price tags?” a volunteer, who had seemingly appeared from the air besides me, asked politely. Confused from the immediate flood of attention, I looked blankly at the short brown-haired man who was already trying to pull the plants out of my hand and grab their price tags.

“Hey, how much is that pineapple and where’d you get it?”


“Can I have your price tags?”

“Oh sure, here…. The pineapples are over with the bromeliads.”

“That’ll be $27,” a small elderly woman told me after I gave her a slip of paper the other volunteer had handed me. Glancing down at the paper for the first time, I saw it had the total of my purchase scrawled out in abrasive letters. I handed my money to the smiling woman, gazing at the fluffy white hair she had piled on her head.

After she handed me my change and I was about ready to exit, I realized that a commotion at the back corner of the bromeliad table had erupted. It was where the pineapples were tucked away. A mass of people had gathered around the corner, most coveting their bruised, battered and rather ugly plants while they watched a pair of women argue bitterly over who had seen the last available plant first. “You racist bitch! Just ’cause I’m black doesn’t mean you can steal what belongs to me!” one of the women cried. In the next instant, the white middle-aged woman was tugging on one end of the pot while the black-middle aged woman tugged back on the other end, both screaming at each other.

“Wow, Min! You really bring out the worst in people,” Jane observed as she handed a wad of cash to another elderly lady who also sat at the cashier booth.

“I don’t know why everyone wants these plants all of a sudden,” I wondered aloud.

“Because you’re a hip trendsetter,” Jane responded jokingly. With that, we exited the plant sale and made our way to the parked car where Jeff was already waiting. We walked along the peaceful and sunny sidewalk, admiring the park waterfalls and sculptures while discussing a possible future visit to the Conservatory. As we walked, I could hear the argument fade behind me. It reminded me of my Senior year of High School and the horrid middle-aged beanie baby customers who pettily bickered over anything and everything. No matter what unimportant reason started the bickering, they often found excuses to verbally attack the staff at Hallmark. As I usually hadn’t worked the beanie hell shift, I had never been attacked. Others were less fortunate, such as my friend Kim who had been brought to tears at least three times and suffered countless other ferocious attacks. At these memories, a shiver tumbled down my spine. Fortunately, it was forgotten the instant we saw Jeff’s purple monstrosity of a plant perched atop our deep green car, making it look as if the car had a stylish cascade of hair.


  1. Nice story, Min. Makes me wish I had been there.