Monday, February 25, 2008

The Difference Between Flowers And People

One March evening my friend Joanne and I were going to dinner. For some reason we were taking her car so she was driving. I had not been in her car for a few weeks so after we buckled up and drove off I took a good look around.

Almost immediately I saw on the backseat a green carnation.

I reached around, picked up the flower and looked from the flower to Joanne.

“Is someone who is not me giving you flowers?” I asked.

Joanne put on her best mysterious woman face. Keeping her attention on the traffic in front of her, she said in her best mysterious woman voice, “Maybe.”

She wasn’t looking at me but I knew she could see me from the corner of her eye. I put on my best grumpy scowl face and stared at Joanne.

We waited to see who would crack first.

Joanne cracked almost immediately.

She giggled and said that back on St. Patrick’s Day she and her friend Mary had gone to lunch in some bar and the bar had been giving all its customers green carnations.

I sniffed the flower.

“That was like three weeks ago,” Joanne said. “There’s no scent left. That flower is completely dead.”

I sniffed it again, confirming that, in fact, there was no scent.

“Well, you know, Joanne,” I said, “that’s the difference between flowers and people.”

Joanne raised an eyebrow. She waited.

I said, “When people die they do smell.”

Joanne turned away from the traffic in front of her long enough to look at me and give me a good look at her best grumpy scowl face.

“Okay, yeah, here’s the deal,” Joanne said. “Unless you want to walk home, don’t saying anything else that dumb to me for the rest of the evening.”

I laughed and returned the green carnation to its place on the back seat.

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