Tag Archives: hospitality

Meet Deb. She’s My Plant and I Love Her.

This is not deb the plant.

Last Saturday, I did something I’ve never done before. I turned 24. The great wheel of time, to which I am strapped, completed a rotation and left me all of the sudden an entire year older. My 24th birthday was on my mind constantly as a 23-year old. I was always thinking out loud to my friends about how I wanted to celebrate, debating between redwall-themed singing picnics to contra dancing to singing sea chanties in the Maritime National Park near Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.

This is partly because my last birthday kind of sucked. I had just moved to San Francisco, had 3 friends, and worked until 10 pm at a restaurant where I felt as valued as an empty toilet paper roll one does not care enough about to throw away. In hindsight, it wasn’t all that bad, but I sure did like to complain about it to myself throughout the year.

I also thought about my birthday constantly partly because I am a ham and couldn’t wait for the next spotlight. So I wanted to make sure my next birthday party was awesome. AND. It was. I had new friends, we went to karaoke after eating family style Italian food and I wore a Scottish skirt with a peasant shirt and felt like the belle of the ball, and I think I was. My friends confirm that I was.*

But something was missing. There was a gap somewhere, even though my belly was full and I was surrounded by my dearest friends whose cheeks I want to pinch and whose backs I occasionally massage.


This is deb.

After contemplating this issue deeply and inhaling some of the second hand smoke from the KLM flight attendants sitting in the courtyard where I sit writing this blog post, I believe I’ve come to the conclusion I seek. My birthday was missing Deb. Deb is a plant. She is a succulent. Her full name is Deb Echevaria Elegans Drevets, and she is wonderful.

She is my little darling and I want to tell the world about her. The way she sits so patiently and silently, the sly way she grows, the way her leaves sometimes die and I have to pluck them off – it’s all too magical to put into words and sometimes, when I look at her, I just want to hug her and tell her that she’s all mine. I can’t, of course, because the oils on my skin can stain her leaves, so I just look at her and beam. It’s nice to care about something aside from myself, to move the focus of my life from me to Deb.

So when I say that I’m so over my birthday – aside from the literal way that my birthday has passed and that I’m metaphysically done turning 24 – I’m also done with the party being about me. I’m not that great. I’m only great in relation to other plants and in relationship with them. I’m great in my capacity to care for Deb and give her everything she needs, whether that be a new pot every 4 years, a good watering every 2 weeks or putting her outside for some socializing with the neighborhood flora. I’m gearing up for act two of the play, featuring not me, but Deb and me and starting with a musical number in a style known as deb step. I know I’m ready for this next phase in my life, but is the world?

Send your thoughts to [is] [the] [world] [ready] [4] [deb] [and] [emily] [at] [gmail] [dot] [com].

For more posts about my birthday, check out What My Birthday Means for You and Birthdays Mean Facebook Notification Overdose.

*They did not, in fact, confirm that I was the bell of the ball. I just assume they would agree with me.

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A Lunchtime Revolution

You know you’re in Egypt when you’re surrounded by Russians in Hurghada and see this walking in front of you on the beach.

Based on a true story that happened last weekend.

We’re on vacation and it’s lunch time.

We’ve all had a hard morning. After sleeping in and enjoying a leisurely breakfast, some students ventured to the beach, where they were subjected to a blazing sun and gorgeous views of the red sea. Unfortunately, their fragile psyches were scarred by the unreasonably high ratio of body mass to swimsuit size, and they saw more Russian butt cheeks than anyone should have to see in a lifetime. They need nourishment.

Others of us suffered equally in the lobby, where we were tortured with 90s pop music, cigarette smoke, and slow wireless internet.  Our applications did not load quickly, and people we did not want to see came and sat next to us. We are exhausted from the effort of maintaining simple sanity in the face of such hardship. We need refreshment.

It’s 1:24. According to the itinerary, lunch is in six minutes. We seat ourselves at a dining table, preparing to renew our souls. Silverware is fidgeted with, glasses filled with water. We are ready.

But something’s wrong. The staff is still setting out the food. The buffet is yet incomplete, and only the salad bar looks prepared. This does not bode well.

A few minutes pass. It is now 1:30. The staff gives us no signal. Do we sit like dumb beasts? Do we help ourselves to salad? Do we drink water and laugh as if everything were fine even though our stomachs cry out for salvation?

Unable to wait any longer, I decide to go for the salad bar. Just as I’m about to grab a tong-ful of cucumber slices, the staff member in charge of fruit arrangement stops me and says firmly “You wait five minutes. Please,” and points to my seat with disdain. This was not a request. I turn away, starving and indignant.

“Excuse me?” I think to myself,  “Are we not on vacation? Is this not an all inclusive resort? Can we not act as we please? Is the salad bar not sitting in front of me, waiting to be devoured? Are there not hungry students behind me, waiting to eat? What kind of a cruel topsy turvy upside downy hell is this?”

I sit down. The time is 1:35. Angry mutterings rise from the table, “What did he say?” “Why can’t we eat the salad?” “I’m so hungry.” “What does it matter to him? They’re not even doing anything to it.” “grumble grumble complain grumble.”

And so we sit, staring at each other, grousing from every end, the buffet a mere 10 feet to the right.

Finally I could take it no more. What was this madness? It is lunchtime, the time in which we eat the lunch.

“Colleagues,” I said. “My peers, friends, brothers, sisters, acquaintances,  enemies, and Steve, will you stand for this, that we should be deprived of eating lunch at the appointed hour? Will you submit to the arbitrary tyranny of the hotel staff? Will you cower and recoil in fear from a single man? No, dear friends. This is our lunch time, and lunch we shall, a great lunch, one that shall go down in history as the greatest resort lunch ever taken. Brothers, sisters, Steve, let us lunch!”

And with that I rose and went to the salad bar. A great cheer erupted and the others followed. Lunch we did, and I learned that the taste of victory is only as good as the food at the hotel.

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