Until last Sunday I knew very little about Holland, save for a vague idea that wooden clogs were involved somehow. Now, however, I can confirm that tulips, windmills, and bicycles are the other three things in the Netherlands. Sometimes bridges.
Often all at once.
On Sunday I dragged James to the Philadelphia Flower Show on the basis that he had to, because I was his girlfriend and I said so.
I find bullying and manipulation to be excellent cornerstones of a relationship. Plus I bought him lunch.
This year’s theme was Holland (last year’s: Ireland. So close), and as stated above, Holland has a lot of bicycles and windmills. It’s enough to make you wonder if each individual artist began to set up their displays and grew increasingly depressed as they realized that every other artist had been in possession of the same idea.
“We’ll have windmills! And hanging flowers!”
“We’ll have hanging flowers! And bicycles!”
“We’ll have bycicles! And bridges!”
“We’ll have bridges and hanging flowers and bicycles!”
“WE WILL HAVE A BRIDGE MADE OF BICYCLES WITH HANGING BICYCLES. Also tulips.”
Don’t get me wrong, it was all lovely, at least those exhibits that I fought my way through the crowd to see. Sunday was opening day and the crowds were thick, resulting in many blurred photos as professional photographers used the heads of passerby to brace their heavy-duty cameras.
Getting through the crowds rapidly became exhausting, and I had bought all my windowsill plants for the day, so I was about to release James from this special guy Hell when I caught sight of the “Live Butterfly Exhibit.” With BUTTERFLIES! LIVE ONES!
So we stood in line to funnel into a netted room, where we were handing q-tips dipped in sugar water to try and tempt the exhausted butterflies to us, so we could carry them around like fairy wands.
But as it turns out, butterflies just take what they want.
It took me five minutes to pry this one off of the netting, and only because I wanted my sugar q-tip back.
Got you, you little punk.
Catching butterflies was hard work. James and I struggled to coax the fragile things onto us for what felt like ages, while small Disney princesses in training waltzed by with sleeves covered in the floaty things. If that’s not a sign that I’m old and no longer desirable by the fairies, I don’t know what is.
Most of the butterflies went to the ceiling to rest. I couldn’t reach them. James could, but he was too busy remarking on how short I was.
I caught sight of a large blue butterfly and spent the remainder of my time in the enclosure trying to get it to love me. “Go on, have a sugar stick,” I whispered, shoving the q-tip at its feet until it latched on to avoid being pushed off the plant.
It requires immense concentration, badgering a butterfly to accept you as its new owner.
Success! The q-tip is gone for good, mind you.
Once my life goal of holding a blue butterfly for thirty seconds was accomplished, James and I packed up and headed out, and I faced the reality of my ever-shrinking windowsill space for my new plants.
The little ones will need big pots soon. I have no space, but I need more.
Fortunately, there is a solution to dwindling windowsill space: Hanging plants.
All the hanging plants.