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8:27 a.m. - 2010-06-12
Madeline, Condi, Hillary, and LA?

Yesterday we played hooky from the gym. Well, we went to the gym, but as you can imagine the recent stress level hasn't been too good for me or my bod and when MIL saw what a lurching grimacing mess I was immediately agreed to my suggestion that we skip the workout and go get coffee instead. I did the unthinkable, I agreed to go to Starbucks. Meh, it was just across the street so why not? (Actually, is there a place on the planet left that doesn't have a Starbucks across the street? I don't think so. Though I do understand the ones in Antarctica are having staffing problems, penguins aren't very competent baristas.)

We go in and the music's so loud we had to yell our orders. Fortunately the guy at the counter didn't give MIL any Starbuckian attitude for ordering 'a small coffee' instead of using the proper Buck-speak of 'a tall Columbian full caf- straight up'. Thus encouraged by this small sign of humanity I felt free enough to suggest he lower the volume of the PA, which he did, and I promptly got nodded thanks and thumb's up from the other patrons who had been crouched in their seats with their arms and various articles of clothing wrapped around their heads in an attempt to keep their eardrums from bursting.

MIL and I had one of those long, easy breezy coffee shop rambling conversations which, quite frankly, did me a whole lot more good than any amount of weight lifting or treadmill slogging would have. At least yesterday. We'd already made plans to hit the Podunkville farmer's market after the gym so we kept to that plan, I wasn't much better physically, but was doing a whole lot better in my heart, plus I knew MIL wouldn't be bothered by my wobbly shuffling gait. Who hurries at a farmer's market anyhow? The whole idea is to amble along taking in the sights and smells, stopping to sample and buy, and generally enjoy the amazing bounty offered up by the local farmers and food artisans.

Not having been there before MIL was overwhelmed. Technically the Podunkville gig is 'an open air market' rather than a straight up farmer's market. There certainly are farmers vending their wares, but there's also a goodly number of other vendors who offer prepared foods and baked goods and specialty goodies like baskets and soaps and hand-painted garden tchotchkes. I stuck to my shopping list of veggies, fungi and fruits, though I couldn't resist making an impulse purchase of a big bag of some seriously delish arugula. Very zingy and spicy. And strawberries? Oy, so fragrant. Nothing like those gigantic mutant plastic ones from the grocery store. These strawberries were small treasures of flavor and scent. I went a little overboard with those too.

I was tickled by several older women with thick Slavic accents who were attempting to haggle with the vendors. The ladies would finger the offerings and then sniff disdainfully and announce the stuff was too expensive. Challenge thrown down they'd glare and wait for the counter-offer. When none came they'd try again, even louder and more insulting. The by now visibly offended vendors would try to reason with the bargaining ladies by extolling the virtues of their wares and continue to politely say the price was the price. The cross-cultural confusion was really most amusing. Wherever those ladies were from it was obvious that someone who doesn't haggle in the market is a damnfool. And here are the very American vendors with zero experience with haggling and their innocent belief that the price marked is the price to be paid.

Normally I would have stepped in and helped everyone, explaining to the vendors about the haggling culture of the Old Country, and bringing the ladies up to speed on how things go in America, but I wasn't feeling well and besides having already saved the Starbucks patrons from being deafened I'd already done enough good-deeding for the day.

This moral imperative of mine to be the world's playground monitor/mom/secretary of state thing gets really tiresome at times, you know?

Taking the day off from making everybody play nice, ~LA

3 Wanna talk about it!

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