Tuesday, February 4, 2014

I Want It . . . You Can't Have It!

You Can’t Have It!

                             Lovely to look at,
                    A delight to behold,
You can’t have it
Because it’s SOLD!

Lipstick? Not for me. I don’t like the stuff. It’s dark, it smears, and it tastes funny, even the fruit-flavored kind. Most make-up tends to the unnatural, but lipstick? Who in the world has red, purple, black, orange, or hot pink lips? Worse, whenever I tried to apply it, I looked like a toddler who found Mommie’s makeup.
Lipstick plants? I love them! The waxy leaves, the colors, the trailing strands, the fragrance that filled my car Saturday after I bought one at Gardenfest in Vero.
It’s sheer luck that I got the plant as far as my car. After I paid for it—a most splendid specimen and a bargain at $20—the vendor agreed to hold it for me until I was ready to leave the event. He wrote “SOLD Chris” on yellow tape, which he then wrapped around the plant.

When SOLD Does Not Mean Sold
“Sold” didn’t mean “sold,” however, to some persistent folks. When I fetched it on my way out of the park, the vendor told me the problems he had keeping “my” plant. Several times, he nabbed people in the process of removing the tape. He said he had to rewrap the “SOLD Chris” ribbon so often that he finally attached it with several tight knots. I thanked him and I imagine he felt some relief as I walked away.
In the crush of crowds attending a popular event like Gardenfest, I’m guessing people steal plants. Many vendors have the same or similar plants in look-alike plastic or terra cotta pots, and it probably doesn’t require slick sleight of hand to remove an identifying tag.
I wonder how often people refuse to take no—that is, “Sold”—for an answer? I can’t answer that question. However, I continue to question and be surprised at the pervasive sense of entitlement in our culture. I’m stunned by the insistent efforts of those who see something, decide they want it, and go to untold lengths to get it—simply because they think they should have it, regardless of whether someone else already has it. Perhaps they need to take a clue from the Who’s “Magic Bus” lyrics: “I want it, I want it, I want it, I want it. You can’t have it.”

Lipstick plants, Aeschynanthuslobbianus, are beautiful, fun, and easy-to-grow.

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