‎"...a little 'trouty', but quite good" ~ Eve Kendall, North By Northwest

Saturday, July 19, 2008

exotic invasives

My friend Miss Greenjeans, who can grow anything she sets her mind to - possibly including spider monkeys - has a whole set of vocabulary words I've never heard. I am frequently asking her for translations, which is embarrassing. Once she was talking to another gardener about her receding flowers, sounding as if receding was a good thing. I was confused, since I didn't even know flowers had hairlines. It turns out they had reseeded. I have things that reseed in my garden, too. Rogue nasturtiums and tomatoes, mostly. And lots of weeds. They're pretty good at reseeding.

Some of these she refers to as "exotic invasives." She also sometimes refers to other things as exotic invasives, such as the wrens who live all over the freaking place. Apparently they're not native to North America. They were imported as decoration.* Now that they're here, they have a tendency to take over some other bird's nest, such as a native chickadee, and the next thing you know it's Hotel Rwanda out there in the chickadee world.

I like saying "exotic invasives." It makes me sound all smart and stuff. So you can imagine my delight when I looked around the grocery store this evening and identified 90% of the shoppers as exotic invasives. First of all, if you live in a resort area and you go to the grocery store at 5pm on change-over day, please dope-slap yourself for me. Really, no one should be as stupid as I am.

I would have noticed my faux pas at the time, but I was too busy pointing at all the out of state license plates and saying "exotic invasive, exotic invasive, exotic invasive. You over there? Exotic invasive." I find myself side-splittingly funny sometimes. And then I launched into this whole internal monologue about why tourists should be refered to as such. After all, we invite them here, importing them on tour buses and giving them houseroom, and the next thing you know they're all over the place.

Next it occurs to me that in order to be truly invasive you have to stay. You have to move in, put down roots and send up little shoots who will soon need desk space at the local elementary school. Most tourists don't do that. They are simply exotic.

Me? I'm invasive. I've been here since the early '90s which in absolutely no way makes me a native. To be honest, I've never thought of myself as exotic before so I'd probably pick that over native anyway. Either way, here I am putting down roots, sending up shoots. My garden is probably not thriving because I keep planting non-native vegetables (except obviously for those tomatoes, holy cow).

And speaking of my garden, we harvested our first eggplant yesterday. Lucy was inordinately excited at the news. I know she likes eggplant but honestly, she was a little ridiculous about it. "An Eggplant! An Eggplant!" she sang. "MISS GREENJEANS DOESN'T HAVE AN EGGPLANT!"

*I'm not even checking my spelling on these fun facts, so don't quote me.


thefoodsnob said...

Wow, you could have had me fooled, I would have thought you knew all those terms yourself.
My car you would probably just call 'invasive' because it has Connecticut plates, and you KNOW there's nothing exotic about that!


Susan said...

The Food Snob - oh I wouldn't be so sure. Chris is from Connecticut and he can be very exotic (he knows how to cook with tempeh).

Rock and Roll Mama said...

You are very exotic, my dear. And tagged for a meme: Six Random things About YOU. Inquiring minds want to know.