Saturday, February 10, 2007

Orchids in our Sink

In our lab we have five orchids on the window sill. Two are currently blooming and the other three are not. They are spectacularly beautiful and most people who come into our lab comment on them. Whoever is receiving the compliment usually gives a slightly smug thank you, as if to take some credit for their loveliness. But really there is one person who worked in our lab who took care of them.

She is now working in another place and the responsibility to care for the orchids has been bestowed upon me. She wrote a very detailed protocol on how to care for these plants, but I am convinced that there is actually more to it. Since she was so good at taking care of them there were subtle, silent things that she did that were not written on the list because maybe she didnt realize she was even doing them. Those orchids just flourished uncontrollably under her reign. They have each flowered several times already and the blooms last for ages on the stem.

The other night I was watering the white Phalaenopsis that is in bloom. After I was finished watering it I let it sit in the sink to drain, this particular pot does not drain well. Then I went back to the computer, shuffled a few things around and then locked the door and left.

As I got off of the train at 14th street it hit me that I had left the orchid in the sink, which would have been okay, but the faucet leaks. The faucet leaks so much that one night I put a 4000mL bucket under it to see how much it would fill, and in the morning it was overflowing. So I panicked, I didnt want to be the one who killed the orchid. I called my boss, who I knew was still there and left a near frantic message about the orchid and could he please put it back on the window sill.

During dinner I could not concentrate so I checked my email using my phone and there was a message from my boss that he only received my message when he was at home and that it would probably be fine overnight. But I knew it wouldnt.

I convinced Joe to take a cab back to rescue the orchid. As I walked into the lab I found the orchid sitting quietly in the big black lab sink and the faucet dripping persistently, drip drip drip, but not into the pot, about one merciful inch away.


  1. Don't go crazy taking care of the orchids. They really just need warm air and a bit of water for moisture. They're tropical plants. They'll be okay.

  2. Thanks Purgatorius, it means a lot coming from you.