Last night I had my introductory Floral Design class, out in Long Island, at Molloy College. The LIRR and LI Buses were fairly easy to navigate (possibly due to all my recent experience with the Path train and New Jersey Transit), but I still asked for directions from various suburbanites about 50 times.
Which brings me to my next topic: The other students in my class. Now, I was already fully expecting to be the youngest person, and also assuming the majority would be of the bored, suburban housewife variety. I could only have dreamed of the characters that I’m about to spend the next several weeks with.
Back up…first I need to describe my instructor, J. Michael George, from 1800Flowers. Imagine if the Greek mafia decided they needed their own in-house florist: 65 years old, button down guido shirt with chest hair exposed, gold cross on a chain, with that oh-so-charming, New York, I-am-not-fucking-around attitude. And Michael George is not fucking around. He has been in the business since the stone age and told us endless bridezilla stories in which he was the biggest bridezilla of all. He also began the session by staring us all down and announcing, “I will know within 5 minutes if you are good with your hands.” A challenge!
Needless to say, I kept my mouth shut until he talked directly to me. And then I only spoke quickly and asked only extremely intelligent questions. I can’t say the same for some of my classmates. First there was the mid-aged bottle blond twins, one who is a cake decorator (which is relevant), and her friend, who Miss Cakes introduced as “Well, we want to work together, so we (meaning Cakes) thought she should get into Floral Design.” Miss Cakes also interjected everything Michael George said, with her own expertise on the business. Her attempts to take over the class failed however, because M. George is too smooth. Oh, and Cakes’ friend, who only spoke to announce that she “can’t tie bows” was wearing a house arrest ankle bracelet.
There was also the random dude in the class who, when asked about his work status, gave a very Dude-like answer of “well I’ve worked in various retail goods establishments…oh, I’m currently unemployed.” Then, my favorite, the woman behind me who interrupted Michael every other second with such gems as “How artistic do you have to be? Do you have to be able to draw?” “How is the flower business doing right now” and “Does that ever happen?” The last was asked every time Michael finished telling a story about something that DID happen to him. Finally, Le George stared her down: “Can I ask you a personal question? Have you ever been in business before? Because the questions you’re asking me make me feel you have no idea how the business world works.” Her answer? “I’m a radiologist.”
There is a kindred spirit in class in the form of Miss Cintrella, wedding/event planner extraordiniare (also relevant). She’s this fabulous sassy woman who took the train back with me and told me all about modeling in Africa. So there will be someone I can hang with.
Besides all that, I am super excited for the real classes to begin (mid next month), even if it is a trek and I still haven’t figured out my future work situation (I’ve honestly lost track of my callbacks/interviews). Le George is obviously so passionate about what he does, and expects the best, so I will learn to be the best. Stay tuned for a weekly class recap…along with photos of my creations!