Wednesday, June 13, 2007


I parked my car on a side street one Friday night and left it there until early Monday morning, when I returned to find it covered in the little periwinkle blue flowers of an adjacent Jacaranda tree. Luckily for my sleeping neighbors, I had to be to work particularly early that morning and I was too tired to do anything but laugh, open the passenger side door, and reach for the red Seguros de Auto Especial flyer I’d tossed to the floor a few weeks earlier. So, at 6:30 in the morning, in my button-down shirt and my Express Editor pants, I used the little shoe-printed piece of paper to scrape off the flowers, the dirt and the pollen from the windshield, the hood, the trunk, the rear windshield, and the top of my car.

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I want so desperately to love the Jacaranda tree. As an arborphiliac in tree-starved Los Angeles, it seems downright hypocritical not to. Its beautiful blue-violet buds are a welcome respite in this land of monotonous weather, smashed cockroaches, and Chinese Food/Donut shops. And as a Midwesterner constantly on the verge of leaving SoCal for greener pastures and cheaper beer, it’s comforting to know that Los Angeles at least offers these pleasant-looking trees, which are native to the area, according to my former literature Professor Thomas Gustafson. (Gustafson had an elastic voice that would stretch and condense and soften and louden and pop – sort of like Nickelodeon Gak – and to this day, whenever I see a Jacaranda tree, I can hear him squeaking, “Eat a puPUsa under a JACARANDA tree!" Or, “Smoke a JOInt under a JacarANDda TREE!”)

But Jacaranda tree, it’s so hard to love you when you shit on my car. Especially since car-washing is such an ordeal for me and my Focus -- both of my side mirrors are adhered to my car with packing tape, since some anonymous asshole ripped both of them off a year ago and I refuse to give him (or her) the satisfaction of knowing that I spent $500 to get them replaced. So now, every time I go through a car wash, I have to deal with the risk of the wooshers ripping the mirrors back off, and the embarrassment of re-taping them in the gas station parking lot.

So, Jacaranda tree, in attempt to stave off my hatred of you, I am going to give you one last chance: I am going to scour the Internet (*cough* Wikipedia) for evidence of your worth.

"Several species are widely grown as ornamental plants throughout the subtropical regions of the world, valued for their intense flower displays."

An ornamental tree! How nice!

"Other members of the genus are also commercially important; for example the Copaia (Jacaranda copaia) is important for its timber because of its exceptionally long bole."

And useful!

"Pretoria in South Africa is popularly known as The Jacaranda City due to the enormous number of Jacaranda trees planted as street trees and in parks and gardens. The time of year the Jacarandas bloom in Pretoria, coincide with the year-end exams at the University of Pretoria and legend has it that if a flower from the Jacaranda tree drops on your head, you will pass all your exams."

What luck! Maybe the Jacaranda tree isn’t so bad after all --

-- but wait:

"Jacaranda is a genus of 49 species of flowering plants in the family Bignoniaceae, native to tropical and subtropical regions of South and Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

Jacaranda can be found throughout most of southern California, where they were imported by the horticulturalist Kate Sessions."

So they aren’t native to LA.

"It is regarded as an invasive species in South Africa and Queensland, Australia, the latter of which has had problems with the Blue Jacaranda preventing growth of native species."

So they’re alien and destructive.

All right, then.

Jacaranda tree – go fuck yourself.

1 comment:

Carrie said...

i gave these away when i did my community service. very popular among the gays. i'm like the outbreak monkey. ::unintentional aids reference::