Sunday, May 04, 2008

invasion of the beta snatchers

I bought a bunch of these tea balls when in China, compacted little green buds that would give High Times readers fits. When plunked into hot water, these pods bloom, bristling outwards and shooting an alien flower out past the water's surface. It almost looks too good to drink.

What it winds up reminding me of most is Invasion of the Body Snatchers, at least the eerie and unsettling 1981 remake with Donald Sutherland and Leonard Nimoy, its weird shoot perhaps about to create a gooey pod in my likeness as I sip at the green tea. It's been awhile since a movie frightened me so much, and watching it late one night, when my long-absent roomie happened to come home, I almost set her on fire, convinced she was a pod person. Meanwhile in the next room, my other roommate has subsequently killed every single pot he's been plant-sitting for over the past two months.

"I watched a flowering plum come in and out of blossom and at night, most nights, I walked outside and looked up to where the cyclotron and the bevatron glowed on the dark hillside, unspeakable mysteries which engaged me, in the style of my time, only personally." --Joan Didion, The White Album

Soon after that, I visited a horticulturist friend of mine up in the sticks, his house filled with all sorts of strange plants. While my oak allergies were crippling out there (yet another example of the plant kingdom attacking the animal kingdom, I conjectured between sneezing fits and fiery inhalations), I nevertheless found myself longing to wheelbarrow mulch about the yard, plant tulips, and have dozens of tiny heirloom tomato stalks ready to go in the ground. It also didn't hurt to hear his out-there neighbor, a Vietnam Vet obsessed with both Bill Evans and power-lifting, talk about growing a new strain of Lights and Haze.

Another strange after-effect of watching Body Snatchers is that I went out immediately to IKEA and bought a bunch of plants, my room now green with hanging ivy, geraniums, and aloe vera. I find myself strangely addicted to the act of watering and potting, and am now on the lookout for other plants to hang with.