Once a vegetable slipped into a persistent human state. Whoa, the vegetable thought. This ain’t half bad. I’ve known cauliflower with more life, but this is okay. Its initial surprise past, the vegetable realized it should try to remember everything about this persistent human condition in case it ever returned to some semblance of normalcy. Who knew how long such altered states might last? If the vegetable did come out of being human one day, what were likely to be the first questions it was asked about the experience? What should it be at special pains to observe now so it could report its impressions calmly and accurately in the interests of contributing to the treatment given like cases in the future? Well, first there were these tuber-like limbs, though they seemed far more than just a means to plant yourself somewhere or cling to whatever was familiar ground. Admittedly, most humans it had observed struck the vegetable as content to do precisely that, seldom moving from a position they may have assumed long ago and now held to out of comforting habit. But others appeared to give themselves willingly to the wind, asking it to carry them wherever it would, like tumbleweeds eager simply to be gone. What became of them once they’d disappeared from view the vegetable couldn’t say. And it wasn’t particularly eager to roll along with them and find out. Still, it couldn’t completely forget these devotees of the rootless life. Despite its natural affinity for the neat rows of experience it had been accustomed to seeing laid out in regimented accord on every side, the vegetable sensed the persistent human state held more than this determination to bring order to even the most brambled of lives. The occasional wild seed blown in among accustomed thoughts and emotions to grow as it could, often shriveling but sometimes breaking into riotous bloom, also claimed a place here. Any effort to weed it out failed, for it would simply spring up again somewhere else and wither or blossom anew. This defiance of trim regularity was not for the vegetable, of course, but such waywardness did hold a certain fascination all the same. Against the uniformity of well-tended ideas, where long attention to what would and would not be accepted had eliminated all but the slightest danger to the public at large, that slight risk stood out in alluring contrast. It claimed some little patch of the mind for its own and flowered there in all its bright excess, like an insistent messenger from a world at the very edge of imagining. Or at least so it seemed to the vegetable. And as for a return to normalcy, there was no rush. Its present condition posed few problems, being rather restful in fact, with plenty that was reassuringly familiar and just enough that wasn’t to keep one feeling alive. Yes, all considered, this persistent human state wasn’t half bad.
Copyright © 2007 by Geoffrey Grosshans