Saturday, June 16, 2007

Faking it?

Last week I was driving my son home from school when I noticed a small van at the side of the road selling orchids. I screeched to a halt, knowing that orchids grow in the tropics, so I thought these might be quite affordable.

They were quite stunning. They were in little log containers and I could see their roots. However, they looked almost plasticky, but then orchids are sort of, waxy. Then I thought, they are plastic! But what about those roots? Then the guy came over with a spray can and misted them with water. I was confused. In the end I had to ask.

The following conversation ensued.
Me: Are they plastic?
Man (looking surprised) Of course they're plastic!
Me: Oh, I thought they were real?
Man: Real?????
Me. Yes, I was looking for a real orchid (feeling more foolish by the minute)
Man: Why do you want a real orchid, these last 10, 15, 100 yrs. Real ones last only a week. (actually that's not true, they last a lot longer, but this was his sales pitch)
Me: (apologising now, almost) I'm sorry, but I really wanted a real one.

I beat a hasty retreat back to the car and drove off. When I explained to my 7 yr old he said, rather redundantly, "Wow, they looked just as real as real ones" But then this is Asia, continent of the master 'fake'. Yes, but the trouble is they're NOT REAL, and I would know. Besides they don't smell,and well, they're just, NOT REAL. Maybe that's the argument people who wear fur use..........

The guy reminded me of the different attitudes to things (some of) my parents' generation have. e.g. the wonderful innovation of plastic, wall-to-wall carpets after lino and bare boards etc. Never mind aesthetics, this is advancement! I guess to this man, plastic flowers are an amazing, cost effective, technological advance to replace the waste and ephemerality of real flowers.

1 comment: said...

Hello J,
Heard about your blog from our pastorate friends, and have just through your entire year. I envy you the amount of free time you apparently have--and the rambutans! I've just published my exile's account, in reverse, of course, Wandering Between Two Worlds, available on Amazon, ISBN 0955373700 which you might enjoy. Keep up the blogging. Anita M.