I was at Whole Foods, studying the organic bananas and attempting to sort the very green ones from the less green ones in the weird light cast by the environmentally correct light bulbs. It was cold in the produce department, the refrigerated cases lining the walls sent a chill into the air. I thought longingly of the sweatshirt I’d left in my car, and started rubbing my hands together, very fast, trying to generate some heat. This drew the attention of the man next to me, a tall guy with a gentle face, who was pondering the heirloom tomatoes.
“I’m cold,” I explained.
He nodded thoughtfully. “Well,” he said, in a slow, deep drawl, “of course you are. It’s cold in here. I don’t know why they do that.” He glanced around, looking for someone to complain to, but there were no Whole Foods employees nearby. So he sighed and returned to meditating on the tomatoes. “What do I know,” he muttered. “I voted for Mondale.”
Mondale? Wasn’t that like, 1988? I felt disoriented, but I didn’t want to be rude.
“I voted for Mondale too,” I said.
Encouraged, my new tall friend looked up from the tomatoes. “I believed him when he said he tried pot, but didn’t inhale.”
“Ummm,” I said, “that was Clinton – ”
“What’s worse?” he demanded, pulling himself up to his full height, and spreading his arms wide. “Lying about sex, or lying about a war?”
“Lying about a war,” I said. I was pretty sure that was the answer he was going for.
He sighed again, and shook his head. “I don’t get it,” he said. “I just don’t get it.” He moved on to the wild mushrooms.
Later, the produce department ran low on plastic bags, causing a minor frenzy until the hipster shoppers pulled themselves together and formed a line behind the one remaining roll. I was after a tall, attractive man I figured must be some sort of celebrity; when it was his turn, he pulled off one, two, three, four bags, then turned, smiled, and gave two to me. I thanked him, trying not to blush, and quickly made my way to one of the refrigerated cases, where an old woman in Birkenstocks tried to sell me on the benefits of okra. “It’s good for stews,” she said. “And digestion.” She pursed up her lips. “Mucilage,” she said.
I threw some okra into one of my bags. She nodded approvingly and moved on.
Afterwards, making my way back to my car, a guy caught my eye and grinned, and we both started to laugh, in a punch drunk kind of way, two survivors of a Whole Foods shopping trip on a Saturday morning, wheeling out loaded carts of hip groceries.
It was pretty funny. Even if you did vote for Mondale.
(A-Z Blogging Challenge: W is for Whole Foods)