The interesting tale of a student and a talking tree on Sproul

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Frances Yang/Staff

You’ve just escaped twenty flyerers and reached the end of Sproul Plaza when one of the knobby trees lining the pavement waves to you. At first, you think you haven’t yet come off that high from yesterday and that you’re still seeing things. But then, you notice a colorful poster for a “lost dog” and walk up to the tree. Little do you know that this tree is in search of a deep-rooted conversation.

The dog on the poster looks cute and happy, so you vow to keep your eyes peeled for a furry brown spaniel. Suddenly, your surroundings turn into a blur, and you swear that the tree in front of you has just smiled at you with its many cracks and wrinkles carved into its trunk. The knobby branches slowly start to resemble hands. It’s as if someone is trapped inside the tree’s body. They were probably cursed after stepping on the seal in front of Moffitt.

“Heeeyy,” the humanoid tree croaks.

What kind of grandmother willow tomfoolery is going on?

Still in a daze, you nervously laugh a little and respond, just to make sure this is real.

“Heeyyy,” you whisper back. The tree sways back and forth slightly. You’ve acknowledged the tree. The next thing you know, you’re standing on Sproul trapped in a conversation with a tree about “Black Mirror.” Or you might possibly be in an episode of “Black Mirror.” But it’s lunch hour anyway, so no one suspects anything of your actions. Your stomach growls for food. As you stand there, you file through your options for getting out of the situation.

You first try reminding the tree that you have to make a phone call to your lumberjack cousin. 

Unsurprisingly, the tree responds with, “Not cool.”

Well, duh. You’re related to the natural enemy of any tree. The tree can’t believe he spent the past 10 minutes talking to a student who supports deforestation. 

Yet the tree still insists on talking to you, so you pretend the tree is your annoying aunt and comment on its age.

It turns out that no living thing appreciates being judged as old. So, this might just do the trick for getting your wooded friend to completely lose interest in your opinions. You provide some justification for your assumption.

Surprisingly, the tree takes your justification as a compliment. This tree is persistent, like those consulting club representatives trying to shove their flyers down your throat. It must be the power of Sproul. You think to yourself that the best way to lose the interest of the tree is to be the most “UC Berkeley” any student could ever be.

You begin to blatantly respond to the tree’s queries or comments with raw facts.

Using your sheer knowledge of trees, you suddenly realize that the species of the tree on Sproul is Platanus acerifolia. You do a quick Google search of this species and quickly begin spewing facts about its geography, life cycle and so on. The tree is disgruntled. Jeez, is studying all that any Berkeley student ever thinks about?

Yeah, you have no chill. But hey, at least it is a win-win situation. You might finally get to leave, and the tree now knows a little more about itself.

Unfortunately, the tree is very interested and wants to know more. So at this point, you simply admit that you need sleep and keep walking. Why you didn’t do this in the first place, we have no idea.

You’re not lonely or desperate enough to talk to a plant. Sure, you’ve been cooped up in your bedroom all weekend, but that was your choice. Trees don’t talk. That’s ridiculous. You can call your mom after you take a quick and much-needed nap.

Contact Malvika Singhal at [email protected].