Gilda Hyde is the office plant lady. Every office has one - the designated worker, inevitably female, who fusses over the leggy philodendron that is meant only for show as it spreads sluggishly atop the lateral file cabinets.
Each December, everyone prays to draw Gilda's name for Secret Santa. Shopping for her requires no strain of cluttered gray matter. You can pick up an English ivy bedecked with glittery mini-ornaments, a sparkly bow, and wrapped in red cellophane while you attend to your weekly groceries. One stop shopping. Plunk it on her desk December twenty-fourth and you're good to go until her birthday rolls around.
If you desire to score extra Brownie points with Gilda, (and you do — she is the official Orderer of Office Supplies — just try going a week without your yellow posties, friend.) a cutting from one of your very own houseplants will do the trick. A snippet of snake plant, a flowering stem from the spider plant your mother gave you two anniversaries ago will get a tear eeking from Gilda's myopic eye.
No one wonders what happens to these bribes of greenery, no one thinks to ask after the health of these leafy extensions of their end tables and hall windows where vines grow unchecked between the slats of mini-blinds.
No one remembers the plants, in fact, none of them even remember Gilda—until their printers run dry or #10 envelopes are in dangerously short supply.
You'd think they would; Gilda isn't easy on the eyes and that alone should make her memorable. Her age is undeterminable. She could be forty, she could be fifty-five. She is short—stunted—only inches spare her from assorted Lollipop Guild references. Her hair is sparse, though long, and the glasses she wears could easily start a goodly fire if applied to dry grass during the sun's noonday climb.
She is plump, though not pleasingly so, and Lycra leggings in MardiGras hues are her standard workday wear. The imbedded greasy stain on the right thigh stares at you like a misplaced third eye, daring you to guess what Gilda had for lunch last Thursday.
Unforgettable. But they always forget…and Gilda always remembers.
She remembers birthdays, anniversaries and promotions, shopping a week in advance for the appropriate whimsical greeting card "from all of us" and takes the card all through the building collecting signatures from well wishers who haven't the slightest clue who the recipient of this latest salutatory message will be.
They don't particularly care. They sign without looking.
Gilda remembers deadlines, cut-off dates, the names of her co-worker's children and pets, and she remembers every malicious comment whispered behind a hand as her ample backside waddles away from the lithe snickerers who think her as deaf as she is blind.
These insults are hoarded, stored away and taken out later in the dark to be replayed over and over.
"Ewww... it's the Troll patrol."
"Can't she do something with that hair? All three of them!"
"Hey, Bill – how'd ya like to see that, naked and ready?"
And the reply: "Not with your eyes, dude!"