3 S.R. Johannes: Wednesday's Wacko Watch - To Pick or Not to Pick

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wednesday's Wacko Watch - To Pick or Not to Pick

Marketing Muse

Check out these tips on how to market fiction!

To Pick or Not to Pick

O.K I have a bone to pick! (no this post is not about picking bones!)

Yesterday, am taking a walk with my daughter. Its gorgeous outside, my little boy is in the stroller.

Along the way, my daughter is skipping and singing.

At the end of our street, there is an apartment complex. It has windy sidewalks through it and we always go through there because it is a nicer walk than staying on the street. (Don't even get me started on the sidewalk issue here!)

As we are walking through the complex, we come to a ratty old bush. And growing in the bush, is one single pink rose. My thought goes to: it only takes one. Which seems to be my daily mantra as I sift through the query process.

My daughter is thrilled and says: "Look, mommy that's pollination!" (She loves the Bee Movie). She squeals and proceeds to tell me all about pollination and how seeds move from flower to flower.

Then she says with wide, hopeful eyes: "Can I pick it?"

I usually always say no because most of the flowers we come across are in people's yard and that would be rude, not to mention probably illegal trespassing. I certainly don't need a 5 year old fugitive.

This time, I give in and say: "Sure honey."

She squeals again and picks the long beautiful rose, which again is not from anyone's rose bush or garden. Keep in mind, this is an apartment complex with hedges around it that are in the common area.

So who would care right?


Just as her little fingers pluck the puffy, sweet smelling pink bloom, a lady screams (and I mean screams) out from across the court, "OH NO!!!"

Now, first of all I never see anyone in this apartment complex because we usually walk before people start getting home from work.

Second, we NEVER pick anything. We don't even roll over grass and we don't even try to sneak into the apartment pool.

So of course the ONE time I let my daughter sneak a sample from nature is the ONE time some crabby old lady decides to make a stand.

The lady yells at us again, "Why did you just do that? That's awful!"

My daughter's eyes grow wide, almost as if she is about to cry. She whispers, "Mommy, am I in trouble?" This is a little girl that ALWAYS follows the rules. The one who actually reminds me of the rules because I actually forget them.

I turn to the lady and say, "Hi, my daughter found this random flower and picked it from a this bush."

Lady: "Why would you do that? It wasn't yours."

Me: "Oh no. We didn't take it from anyone's garden or anything. It was just stuck in this random bush."

She shakes her long, wiry white hair and proceeds to ash her cigarette as her white cockatoo perches on her shoulder squawking "hello, how are you?" in his polite birdy manner (which was actually much more polite than the old lady)

I apologize and say, "I'm sorry, have a good day."

I walk away (OK so I Stomped away) steaming. For 1/2 the walk home, I kept telling my daughter "It's OK. We didn't do anything wrong. Some people are just grumpy. We apologized."

Was I trying to convince her or myself?

You see, I am someone who cries if the person next to me cries. I am someone whose feelings are made of some kind of really fragile stuff even though I may come across as tough. I cry at commercials, I cry in movies, I cry to songs. (Sounds like I cry all the time but I dont) I am also someone who gets stuck on certain things. Someone who gets appalled at other people's actions. Someone who feels awful and beats herself up for days if she does anything wrong or hurts anyones feelings. (obviously - b/c I am still bothered today)

But to imply I am disrespecting nature? I celebrate Earth Day. I recycle. I pick up trash when I see it. I pay money every month to plant trees to offset my family's carbon. I even give enough to offset my neighbors carbon. I never let my daughter kill bugs and teach her to respect nature. I spend some time every day appreciating this world we have. So I am slightly offended and annoyed that it was implied I disturbed something sacred.

Maybe we shouldn't have picked the flower. I get that.

So what is my beef???

1) Why did she care? Granted maybe we should not have picked it. But technically it was a weed right? I think people focus on these smallish things when there are huge things to care about. If we all focused our energy on something bigger - like war or plastic or criminals, we'd be better off than yelling at a small girl for a single flower.

2) Why did she have to yell? Didn't she see my little 5 year old cringing away in fright. Didn't she see the joy on my 5 year old daughter's face as she help the rose in her hand, proudly. Was it necessary to yell and disrespect us like she THINKS we disrepected a flower?

3) Was she really so "earth conscious" that she was bothered by the picking of a single rose that was not even hers to begin with? Or was she mad because she wanted to pick it?

I don't know but here is my take on Flower Lady?

If you are smoking and ashing on the lawn with a wild rarish bird confined as a pet that lives in your dingy little apartment whose wings you've clipped so he remains a prisoner while you make him learn dumb human phrases as he dreams of flying in blue skies......

....then my daughter can pick a flower.

Who's with me!

What do you think? Was it awful to pick the flower?


lisa and laura said...

EEW! Whatever crabby old lady! I honestly can't imagine a situation where I'd yell at a 5-year-old girl who wasn't my own child unless they were putting themselves or someone else in danger. I mean seriously lady. Get a grip.

Sherrie Petersen said...

Of course it wasn't awful to pick the flower! People get hung up on weird things and often ignore their own issues (cigarette, bird) while trying to point the finger at others.

I'm the same way with my kids, always telling them "Let's leave it there so other people can enjoy it, too." But sometimes it's okay for them to touch and pick and enjoy close up.

Bummer that she frightened your daughter!

Kelly Polark said...

I usually tell my kids to leave the flowers (even in our own yard!), but once in a while it is a treat for a child to pick that flower. Especially if it is not in someone's yard...
You should've told the lady that the smell of her cigarette burned your daughters' nose so she wanted to smell something floral and less raunchy. ;)

Kelly H-Y said...

Oh my goodness ... she's just mean and cranky (the cigarette and cockatoo are just so perfect for this whole story!)!!! I'm the same way as you in all the ways you listed. Don't you worry at all ... poor things ... I can just imagine your poor daughter and the fright in her eyes. I'm glad you let her pick the flower this time, and I hope she is enjoying it thoroughly!!

Danyelle L. said...

Wow! I'm with you. :) Sometimes people get hung up over such little things, that they miss the big picture.

Little Ms J said...

She has a bird that sits on her person. Case closed.

Kimbra Kasch said...

Life's too short to let those people get to you - but I would have been steamed if someone yelled at my daughter. Don't know, I might have yelled back

You were the bigger person

Katie Anderson said...

Look, that flower is going to die on that bush within a few days whether you pick it or not. Life is too short. Your daughter had made a beautiful connection to pollination and nature and rainbows for all we know and I think it was totally appropriate and fine to pick that flower. Because you have already stated that it didn't belong to anyone?

But I would have had a stomach ache all day worrying about it.

I like what Kelly said.

a brilliant blog said...

flowers were meant to be picked. that is why they have stems.

Patti said...

I hate confrontations they make me very upset. I think she should have picked the rose. I have a 7 year old girl and she's always asking to pick things.

Casey Something said...

Oh this makes me upset just reading it. That woman's actions were completely unfounded as far as I'm concerned.

I would be ILL if someone yelled at my daughter for picking a flower, even if it was in their yard (which I don't let her do, but still). That's just not something children need to be yelled at for, IMO.

Casey Something said...

My word veri for that last comment was ovios.

Like, it's obvious that woman was off her rocker.


This one is flerr (flower?) Wow!

Jessie Oliveros said...

I love it! I mean, wouldn't it have been GREAT if you had thought of ALL of that RIGHT there, but who ever thinks of the greatest come back of all time in the moment? I think, though, that you handled it best and taught your daughter not to pick fights with strangers. Way to mom.