"The stars are threshed, and the souls are threshed from their husks."

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Dress to Impress at the Monterey Market

I remembered yesterday, as part of a small breakthrough in my Edges of Bounty book, that I actually love food. I love fresh vegetables. Strange-looking cabbage, parsnips, and turnips. I'd yet to eat a blood orange this season. I remembered that I know something about food, and that I enjoy preparing it and feeding it to people. Just holding a beet grimed with dirt and sand is an event. Was that what I was thinking when I thought up this book after all? Where had that inspiration been?

So I packed up my computer and went to the Monterey Market. I was wearing this brown suit jacket that lends me much more style and respectability than I deserve or can rightly bear. I believe I could be naked under it and still get a window seat at the best restaurants.

"Excuse me," she says, reaching awkwardly around my torso towards a ruby red grapefruit and never taking her eyes from mine. Why is this beautiful Italian woman looking at me like this? Do I shove her down and run away? Instead, I turn a little beety and try to mind my own business. Those meyer lemons look great. She follows me but I ignore her. Are those mangos ripe? I set my hands on a few mangos, squeezing them gently, careful not to bruise them. They're not quite ready-- Hey! Why am I blushing? Gah! She's looking at me again. Can't a man fondle a mango without some over-heated continental presuming adultry? I begin grabbing all my purchases with my ringed hand.

Once in the store proper, she is more subtle. We're a couple bins apart rather than reaching towards the same papaya. Then, near the savoy cabbage, she makes her move. Our carts had idled side by side while I bagged some brussel sprouts and when I returned
she has taken my cart by accident and is walking away. I'm about to say something when she pauses and looks over her shoulder to see if I noticed the switch.

"I think that's my cart."
"Oh? Oh it is. I don't know what I was thinking."
"Is this your butter lettuce?"
"Yes!" she says, touching my arm before taking the head of lettuce from me.

I back-tracked after that and stared at the fresh herbs for a while while she made her way down the apple aisle, and then the mushrooms. At check out, she was in the shortest line but I chose a longer one because I am not immune to pretty women. As she walked out she caught my eye again and winked.

The last several trips to the market I've had lesser and by no means propositional encounters, but I always wind up talking to some woman or another. --How do you tell if a melon is ripe? --Well, it depends on the type... or --Will you hold my place in line? You have everything I forgot I needed.


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