The truth of it is, aside from the conservatory, every place I look in this fine industrial city of brick and steel could be aesthetically enhanced by the addition of a potted plant. Thus, in order to make a decision on the best placement of my plant amongst the overwhelming number of possibilities, I realized I would need to look beyond merely the visual attributes of a bit of greenery and consider the functionality of the potted plant. That would be, of course, the creation of oxygen. "Where have I found myself lacking oxygen" I thought? The answer that immediately came to mind was, "in bars". That is, in bars prior to January 1st of this year, when the ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces took effect. Nowadays, the answer is not so easy. But certainly there are bars that have disregarded the law on this matter and continued to allow smoking in their establishment, making their business an ideal place for my potted plant, yes? Yes. With a bit of research, I found my target. A bar called Helen's Two Way Lounge who had the honor of being the first bar in Chicago cited with breaking the smoking ban.
Target in mind, I set out to the first step of my task, the acquisition of my potted plant. This proved only slightly more difficult than expected. My first stop was the nearest potential potted plant carrying store to me, the KMart. I was certain I had scored big when, upon entering I was greeted with a prominent display of what appeared to be a plant section. Sadly, I was deceived.
Not a single real plant in the whole place! All fake. And so very odd that these fake plants are surrounded by real dirt and real plant nutrients for real plants.
Many many pots, but no plants.
Confused yet undeterred, I moved onto my next destination, the Jewel. This proved much more fruitful.
After carefully looking over the choices, I pick the best potted plant for the task.
I name her Cookie, after the monster.
Cookie and I begin the trek to our destination, her new home, Helen's Two Way Lounge.
Cookie and I wait for the Milwaukee bus. We wait a very long time for this bus. I start to get a little worried. Her plastic tag says, "prefers warm location and filtered light". The nighttime orange glow of the city can probably be considered filtered light, but by no means is this bus stop a warm location. But she survives the wait and eventually the bus comes.
Cookie on the bus.
When we arrive at the bar, I take note of our situation. The booths are all full so we take a seat at the bar. Looking around I see that Cookie is the only potted plant in the joint. This is good. She will definitely be of use here.
Within just minutes of arriving Cookie begins to get attention. The first thing the bartender says to me is, "nice plant. Where did you get it?" I tell her I recently purchased her at the Jewel and that she is to be a gift. I neglect to mention who will be the recipient of the gift.
Moments later a young man approaches me and tells me he likes my plant. I get the feeling he is much more interested in me than he is in my plant.
No one seems to find it the least bit odd that I am spending a lot of time getting the placement of my potted plant "just right" on the bar, moving it around to see where it looks the best and standing up a lot to check it from different perspectives.
The barstool next to me is taken by a man in his sixties (by my estimation). He smiles at Cookie but is much more interested in discussing my digital camera which I have just handed him in hopes of getting him to take a picture of Cookie and I.
Here are Cookie and I sitting at the bar.
And here is cookie in her new home. She and I share a drink together (beer for me, tap water for her).
After spending about 20 minutes talking to the man next to me about technology and generational gaps, I left for the bathroom. When I returned I quickly put on my jacket, gave the man a rushed handshake, waved goodbye to the bartender, and slipped stealthily out the side door.
I left with the good feeling that Cookie would be treated well at that bar.