Plant Matter

I’m in a fight with the apartment management company about plants.

Well, right now it’s sort of a polite quibble. It could escalate to a bit of a pissing match, after which it might become a fight.

In May, I went out and dropped $90 on some lovely flowering, cascading plants for my balcony. I have managed to keep them alive regularly salvage them from death thus far in the season, despite numerous days in the 100-degree range. I feel I should be commended for this. In the spirit of the current sporting events, a medal of some kind might be appropriate.

Setting that aside, a few weeks ago my neighbors found flyers in front of their doors asking them to please take their beautiful flowering plants off the balcony railings for fear that they might fall off and hit someone. Seriously, that’s what they said.

I didn’t get a notice.

Neener, neener, neener.

Eventually, though, I did, and I promptly ignored it, and so did my neighbors, because it’s dumb. But as “it’s dumb” is not a strong legal argument, I do have several others: there is nothing in the lease conditions or terms that says I can’t have the plants; I had them last year without a complaint from the managers; I have quintuple the liability coverage of the amount recently required for renter’s insurance; the likelihood that the damned 10-lb. plants are going to fall off the 5″ wide railing and hit David or Phyllis below as they just happen to walk out to attend shul on a Friday night are tremendously long; as is happenstance, this is exactly the sort of thing liability insurance is for; I paid $90 for the plants and the company is not willing to compensate me, nor is the company willing to compensate me for the tables or stands they’ve suggested I purchase in order not to put the plants to waste.

Also? It’s dumb.

I admit that some of the above arguments are stronger than others, and I admit that I’m being a bit cantankerous about the whole thing, really just for my personal amusement.  I’ll probably comply eventually. But taken as a whole, it’s difficult to argue against me. I mean what exactly is the purpose of having a suddenly-required minimum of $100,000 in renter’s liability insurance (I have $500K) if you’re not allowed to do anything that might one day freakishly result in someone getting a bump on the noggin?

You know where this all comes from, don’t you?

The derecho.

A storm so freakish that no one had ever heard of it before came plowing through nine states at the end of June and, if we follow the apparently immutable logic of apartment rental companies, somebody somewhere got hit by a falling plant, and therefore everyone must immediately surrender their lovely foliage in favor of stark, barren surfaces.

What is this, Russia?

No! This is America! And in this country, we have plants, dammit! We have plants and we have insurance, and we pay for both, and you can’t take them away! Not from our cold, dead hands!

Clinging to guns and vegetation. Say, Mr. Heston actually is cold and dead these days. Anybody tried to take that rifle out of his hands? 

Interestingly, do you know what derecho means in Spanish?

It means right. As in, it is my derecho to have plants on my balcony railing since you people just made up this new policy like five minutes ago because you’re a bunch of scaredy-cats.

But seriously, I ask you: what’s next? If you want to come around after a freak windstorm and say nobody can have plants on their balcony railings anymore, what comes next? Somebody fell asleep and now nobody can have candles? Somebody’s lights went haywire and now nobody can have Christmas trees anymore? Somebody sneezed on their balcony and inadvertently spit on someone and now nobody can have allergies anymore? Somebody’s flamethrower misfired and now nobody can have flamethrowers anymore?

You see what I’m saying.

So, while I look for tables that are exactly the same height as my balcony railing so as to allow myself and passersby to enjoy my lovely flowering cascading plants (and so as to thumb my nose at the management company a tiny bit), available for  free or close to it, the quibble continues.  My neighbors are apparently in silent allegiance. The vigil goes on. Operation Petunia is in full effect. Next mission: cocktail hour on the balcony. Where I can enjoy my plants.



9 thoughts on “Plant Matter

  1. I found your argument emotionally persuasive but lacking in factual evidence, so I did some research. I Googled “injuries from plants falling from balconies” and couldn’t find one example of such an injury. I did, however, find pages of people being injured when THEY fell from a balcony. So perhaps the solution is to allow balcony plants but prohibit balcony people. Oh, I found one interesting article on cats on the balcony. Does your management company have a position on that?

    • Aw, c’mon! IC didn’t find my argument completely and totally persuasive in every way? I had a solid, solid paragraph of facts, and I think my points as re: candles and Christmas trees were valid, if their follow-ups were not. 🙂 As to your research, those are VERY handy facts. But I don’t want them banning people from their balconies in light of your discoveries. As for cats… um… my management company doesn’t know I have one, so I’m not going there!

  2. I’m sure what happened is that the apartment building’s insurance company did a loss control inspection and noted the hanging plants. They (or some other company) had to pay a claim for this in the past, so now they have a rule about it. And all those “what next” scenarios? Yup.

  3. So glad you mentioned the real meaning of derecho. I speak Spanish, so I know it, and I was tired of hearing those weather people saying it means “straight on,” or some other nonsense. Take a picture of your plants and post it.

    • Ha! I actually do NOT speak Spanish, but I happened to see a posting about workers’ rights in English and Spanish, picked up on the word “derecho,” looked to see what it meant in English and voila! (Oh. I speak French.) As for the picture… well, I have to rescue them from impending death again. Maybe I’ll post them when they’re looking perkier.

  4. Pingback: In Which I Have (Almost) No Real New Things To Say | thesinglecell

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