One of the things I like about garden center work is being able to help people select plants for their different needs, and discuss how to care for them. There are few things more pleasant than being able to share information about one of your special interests with other enthused people.
But the other day there was a storm heading in, and customers at the garden center were few and far between. Until it was time to put things away for the night, there wasn’t a whole lot of sales work to do. So the other clerk and I contentedly tended the plants.
Free from the heavy cognitive demands of dealing with fractious students, or of trying to make chit-chat while running a cash register, I peacefully filled in the gaps on the benches with fresh stock, and groomed the plants by removing the old flowers and leaves.
My coworker was in another area watering the the endless flats of geraniums. When I came by to empty my debris bucket, she commented that it was a nice break from the intensity of her other job as an interpreter. “I like being able to just ‘veg out’ with the plants,” she sighed happily.
After a few seconds’ delay to shift back into conversational gear, I replied, “Yes! It is nice to be non-verbal for a while.” And then I went back to silently puttering around with plants.