Finished: first day at "the garden." That's what they call it, but really it comes out sounding like garden with a capital 'g'. Which is accurate, since it's the Desert Botanical Garden. But when they say it,"the Garden," it might as well be a religious cult, the kind with a leader whose charisma demands complete devotion and who papers his headquarters with images of himself. No, I'm joking. Just a little. But you know, you start to suspect a place where everyone talks about how great it is. Unsolicited talk of how great "the garden" is, strikes me as fishy.
What can I expect? If, at my first day of training, someone pointed out all the flaws of "the garden," I would either suspect that person of being a jerk, or suspect "the garden" of being a hell hole. Kidding, I just wanted to say hell hole in this post. More accurately, I would suspect it of being a seriously flawed institution. I imagine the minor flaws "the garden" has will become apparent in a few weeks, or months.
I always feel cautious, though, when I hear employees talk of their company as anything with the definite article in front of it, like the first letter should be capitalized: "the Company," "the Garden," "the Store," "the Brothel." The larger the company, the more ominous it sounds. When I worked at Graywhale, the cd store in Logan, we called it "the Store." But there was only five of us, so we were like a little family. When I worked at that big company in Salt Lake which I shall not name (for some reason. I don't even know why I don't want to name it), people often called it "the Company" and I always cringed. It sounded like a living being, with limbs or tentacles. It really had tentacles, which it stretched to Florida, Connecticut and Illinois. And those tentacles were moving and multiplying constantly, like the hungry monster that it was (I liked the Company, I really did). Anyway, the point being: Graywhale = small; mysterious Salt Lake company = very large and, therefore, ominous.
But so far, "the garden" is amazing. I was thrilled to discover that I get a free book all about the Sonoran desert (it takes so little to please me), and I was even a little thrilled to find out that I have homework. Yes, homework. I have to study the desert ecology. I mean, I'm going to have to be able to explain facts about the plants and stuff without sounding like a fool. Being a natural tour guide, guiding won't be hard for me to do. But first I have to actually know the stuff.
Today we went on a small tour of "the garden." It's a meticulously cultivated place (as it should be). And honestly, looking at some of these plants up close, you can see why Gene Roddenberry or whoever, thought they ought to film the planet scenes of Star Trek in the desert. There's this plant called the boojum that's rather freaky looking. Beautifully freaky (like the Eels song). I've given a link to an image of it, but photos don't do it justice. You have to see it in real life. And there are other strange plants. I think part of the experience, the otherworldy feel to it, is only present because these crazy plants are all in one place. One place called The Garden. Ooooo-wah-ooo-oooo.