Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Pitching Woo

One of the Peppermint Squad's more recent members is Susan Batchelder (not her real name). She is aged 32, 5'4" tall, 175 lbs, and has shoulder length, blonde hair. She generally wears Dickies brand clothing in keeping with her occupation, which is a forklift driver at one of the flower warehouses along Albany Avenue (name withheld by request). If you want to know Ms. Batchelder's real name, she will respond to 'Flora' which is her nom-de-pax since she joined the Peppermint Squad.

Flora is the Squad's self-appointed Emissary of Woo. Her position has been written into the club's constitution since she was recruited into the fold. If you see a stocky woman scooting around town with a satchel stuffed full of variously colored carnations over her shoulder, you will know that Dorchester's Peppermint Squad is involved in community outreach, trying to build a more romantic Boston, one couple at a time.

As Flora explains it: "I've had a lot of dud boyfreinds in my time. A lot. What woman hasn't? Since I work in the flower business I decided to do something about it. I get to the flower market before most of the city is awake. The flowers arrive on trucks from Logan and some come up from New York. We unload the trucks and give all the florists in Boston thier quota and there is always a palette or so left over. These keep til the next day but like milk, who wants flowers about to expire? My boss used to throw them away but now I take the carnations and I go about my mission."

Flora says: "I take my scooter out after 5:00 in the afternoon and I stuff my messenger bag with as many carnations it will hold. Carnations can take a lot of abuse and the streets really jostle the parcel around. Whenever I see a couple hand in hand, I stop and give the swain a carnation and tell him to offer it to his or her date. I suggest a little poetry or I talk to the recipient and ask what he or she would like to hear. In this way, I encourage expressing emotion and building emotional connections through the use of flowers. I'm the FTD boy but I'm a woman and I don't have winged shoes; I just have this no-name Chinese scooter to make my deliveries."

Flora continues: "I'm like cupid. I see love blooming and I try to make it ripe. I see a connection and I try to make the contact spark. I'm not a florist. I don't make arrangements and I don't sell anything. I stop where I seem to be needed to turn the romance up a notch from simmer to, maybe, parboil. I can't work miracles but I can brighten some couple's day and let them know there is more to dating than spending time together. Romance is about gesture and quality, not just face time."

Flora is currently single and that is why she requested her real name not be used.

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