Last night I ran into a friend in front of her condo building. She pointed to an area beside the entrance and said, “Our plants have been stolen.”
“Yep. The ones you’re looking at are replacements. The first ones got stolen.”
“I don’t know. Everyone’s emailing about it.” Just then another condo resident walked by with her dog. I figured she’d planted them, since she’s a gardener and works at a garden center, but no! It was in fact a different condo owner who did the planting, and then replanting. However, the gardening expert had happened to walk by at the exact moment when the non-gardening expert was doing the planting! “They looked lovely,” she noted. “Then, an hour later, I came back and they were gone. Just like that.”
We all shook our heads. “I tried to tell myself it was just some kid wanting to bring flowers to Mommy,” said the gardening expert, “but these were whole plants, roots and all.” So someone was watching, waiting for their chance. Waiting for the non-gardening expert to finish. They brought their box or bag, dug out the plants, and fled the scene.
Why would you steal plants? You can’t sell them. You can’t eat them. It seems like either you’re someone who loves flowers and doesn’t steal, or you’re someone who steals and doesn’t give a shit about flowers. Yet there is a third category, someone who loves flowers and steals them. How many people are in this category? Two percent? Fifty percent? Where have I been?
This morning I walked past the crime scene. The woman who’d done the planting was just parking out in front. “Oh my God, I heard about your flowers!” I yelled as she got out of her car.
“Yeah,” she smiled, “I’m happy.”
“Oh yes. I’m lucky I had these ones left over. They’re pretty, too.”
“Yeah, they’re very nice.” I admired the new, modest, rather sparsely planted flowers. “But still, someone stealing your flowers, oh my God!”
“Oh, the ones I put first were too pretty,” she said. “They looked like that.” The thieves had left exactly one of the old flowers. Actually it didn’t look that special to me, but maybe it was the runt. “You can’t plant things that pretty,” she added. “I like these ones. I’m happy with how it looks.”
The non-gardening expert went back to re-park her car. I couldn’t believe she wasn’t upset. Double mystery!