Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Friday, April 01, 2011

Settling things in a genteel way

I recently pissed a friend off. I was in the wrong. I find it best to give it a couple of days in these cases and then grovel. This is how things went down:

I receive an e-mail message with a picture of a yellow carnation. Now, we are perhaps the only two people on the planet besides florists who care a thing about the Language of Flowers these days, so I immediately grokked this and looked it up in my Kate Greenaway book.

Yellow Carnations mean disappointment and disdain. Oh, boy.

I searched for a way to say I was sorry. Purple Hyacinths. I send a picture back.

I get two more pictures back. One is of Acacia. Friendship. So far so good. The other I could not identify. Fortunately there is TinEye, a search engine that allows you to upload a picture and search for it on the Internet. Hazlenuts, also known as Filberts. Reconciliation. Wonderful!

I send back: Agrimony (Thankfullness), Lesser Bindweed (Humility) and Flax (I feel your kindness). Essentially thankfully grovelling.

All is now right with the world. My point in sharing this is to show that, although a bit odd, our friendship is rooted in certain commonalities that really most people don't share. A love of Latin and history is another big one. We have a lot of inside jokes in our relationship. How many people would have gotten that e-mail and said, oh, look, he sent me a pretty flower? I knew from a previous frosty e-mail that I'd pissed him off, and this was no happy early birthday. Sometimes you just realise that the people you love, the people you consider family, are so right for you in so many ways. And although disagreements happen, generally those sorts of friendships are to be treasured and hopefully endure. I guess what I'm saying is I'm very thankful (Agrimony!) that I have someone in my life who knows me so well and who, while not always comforting in the way people want it, is extremely supportive and a treasure among friends, as someone who will always be honest with me (often when I don't want him to, but I need him to). You can't find that easily.

On the other hand, his spouse now thinks we're nutjobs because we solve spats with flowers. :)

PS The Language of Flowers is not without its pitfalls. Don't send Wild Tansy to anyone unless you really want to declare war on them, for example. Bachelor Buttons mean Celibacy (perhaps that's why they're used in weddings, but that probably is as appropriate today as white on a bride), but Lime Blossoms mean Fornication. And colour of the flower often matters. :) I came across the tree that my last name comes from, the Rowan or Mountain Ash. It stands for Prudence. What can I say, it's a nearly lost art, one I'm interested in for many reasons. I love gardening and I love old things, especially many things Victorian (or at least high class Victorian--let's face it, they don't include Jack the Ripper and syphillis in Victoria magazine. They're just not pretty. :)

No comments: