A shining nursery van pulled up in front of my window on Charles Street as I struggled to get out another issue of WestView. Three uniformed attendants got out and began moving elegant plants in elegant containers to adorn the entryway to my neighbors’ brownstone—making my ancient plastic window boxes distorted by winter ice look especially shabby.
But after a new knee operation then another week in the hospital to remove an intestinal blockage, my energy battery was near zero. Even thinking of visiting Home Depot on 23rd Street to purchase an “almost keeping up with my neighbors” new planter left me exhausted.
So I found myself speaking to my son, Doric, who lives in East Wiliston Long Island, surrounded by a continuous overlapping sea of Shopping Centers (shopping being the chief cultural activity of Long Islanders.) I asked him if he would visit the famous Hick’s Nursery to see if they had classic wood planters and how much they would cost?
He called me from Hicks and the wooden planters were, gulp, very expensive (everything is much more expensive than it was last week) but then, reading my hesitation, he had a thought. “Let me send you a photo,” and he did—he used his iPhone and bang—in minutes there was the wood planter on my machine. I had doubts about the color and contrast of the wood and I did not like the brass bands, but “They have some Italian planters on sale” Doric offered, knowing the word “sale” instantly evaporated my buying resistance.
The photo of the “Marchioro made in Italy collezione” did indeed cheer me, and as I talked to him and viewed the image of the elegant planter, I heard the sales women giving a very informed sales pitch. I asked questions, and it was if I was standing next to my son forty miles out on Long Island.
At that very instant, two women in traditional Southeast Asian dress walked by my window, the first with a baby on her shoulders the second with an iPhone tracking a West Village map—the planet is on-line.
Perhaps one day we will be able to call a store clerk who will walk out on the sales floor as we view what the clerk views and respond to our questions—or maybe instead of a human clerk, we’ll call a robot. From now on, I am going to let Doric do my iShopping.