Unlikable Things

  1. The way my mother says converzzzation and aczzzelerate and cazzzerole. It is a strange way to pronounce these words, accentuating z’s that are not even present. I could not figure out why she did this until I heard everyone in her home town speaking similarly. Why this group of 150 people chooses to speak this way is beyond me. The worst part of hearing her say these words in the way that she does is knowing that I will find myself repeating the incorrect pronunciations for days afterward and that the Fiery One will barely conceal his mirth.
  2. When my fingertips wrinkle up after staying in the bath for an extended period and how it feels when they touch each other or the towel. It gives me the taste of blood in my mouth. It is a horrible, tooth-grinding sensation when I am neglectful and accidentally brush my fingertips together or do not grip the towel sufficiently. I would rather be bitten by something nasty than weather a torture of this magnitude. My younger brother has an analogous torment, which is the sound of two cotton balls being rubbed together. When we were kids I used to sit on his chest with my knees pinning his elbows down and rub cotton balls against each other right next to his ear. He, too, would complain of the unpleasant flavour of blood in his mouth.
  3. Much like the last one, but when other people’s wet feet touch my wet feet. Gross and creepy, but without the bloody aftertaste.
  4. People who do not know that you do not want to hang out with them or have very long and involved conversations every time you run into them. I, for one, end up being creative about my walking routes or changing which watering holes I frequent in an effort to escape the latest cling-on. It is cowardly, yes, but it does force me into much-needed habit changes.
  5. Gin. It tastes like pine needles, and every other alcohol tastes better than gin, so it is completely unnecessary in the world of liquor.
  6. Silk plants are ridiculous. They never look like the real thing no matter how expensive they are, and they are tacky. People do not own fake plants because they like plants. If they really liked plants, they would own a real plant and take proper care of it. People who own silk plants own them because they are not creative enough to fill in the empty corner or coffee table space with something that actually has to do with themselves and things that appeal to them. It is like saying, look folks, I have plunked down this fake thing that is trying to look like the real thing and failing badly, and as an added bonus, I paid too much for it and it serves no purpose!
  7. The number six is unpleasant to me. I just don’t like it. Five sits confidently to its left, comfortable in its balance, and seven stands erect and resolute to its right, but six slumps in its place, lazily hanging out and pretending to portend great evil. This is why I have added a seventh unlikable thing to my list of unlikable things. I am avoiding six. Six is the friend who has been in between apartments and on your couch rent-free for three months and claims to have no money for groceries, six is the jerk who sold you an eighth of oregano in the park when you were fifteen and left you broke and ashamed sitting in your basement for two weeks, six is the schlepp that sits down at the neighbouring table while you are having coffee with friends and listens to your conversation in such a way that you know he is trying to make it seem like he is hanging out with you and is just waiting for an invitation to say something, an invitation which you will never extend.

Silk Plant Facts:
* Apparently, silk trees and bushes have an advantage over live ones in the chameleon habitat. They will not die under high humid conditions, are easy to clean, will not need to be trimmed and pruned, and have no sap to possibly harm or irritate the chameleons eyes. I was wrong to say that silk plants served no purpose when they are of such importance to chameleons.
* The business of silk flower services reportedly lacks the normal hustle and bustle of other service businesses.
* MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada found silk plants were more expensive than buying live, and they now save on maintenance. Live plants can be tended in place and they repair minor damage themselves by growing new leaves. In the right light live plants flourish while silk plants’ colour bleaches out. The involved dusting process for silk requires taking them outside, washing them, letting them dry and treating them with fire retardant. By the time they are cleaned twice, they have to be discarded. Go live plants!
* Having real versus silk plants at work increases productivity by 12%!
* According to Dennis Fairchild, "[t]he east is called “chen”; its feng shui-element is strong wood. This is symbolized by vital, thriving round-leaved (or healthy-looking artificial silk) plants and deep green colors. For those without a green thumb, pictures or posters of plants are also said to bring good luck ch’i." Isn't that cheating? And wouldn't ch'i notice the difference between real, live plants and silk ones?