We are by our nature social creatures and the evil Chinese Pandemic has cut us off from our natural outlets for social contact and discourse. I feel it like an oppressive force as if cut off from the sun for two years.
Skype, Zoom, MS Teams tried their best to bring us together, but they are two dimensional and do not fulfill that social need.
We can get our groceries delivered — and, boy oh boy, did I — but it foils our need to see, talk to, and be in the company of other people — not intimate friends, but the masses of humanity that are the stage set for our lives.
I miss the coffee shop humanity, the partisan crowds at sporting events, the hungry people at the grocery store, and the reverent churchgoers.
Today I announce with defiance and determination: I have thrown off the yoke and I am back in play at the vanguard of a revolt.
I freely admit that I go to the grocery stores — Whole Foods, Central Market (excellent produce and meat), Randalls, HEB — and eschew delivery though delivery is more convenient and saves time. I do it to see the people.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the produce, but I go to see the people and feel the vibration of their beating hearts and watch their determined faces consider the cost per ounce of the coconut oil. I watch them pinch the Haas avocados (buy them hard, let them soften in a paper bag before making guac). I listen to them debate the thickness of cut #1 v #2 of their rosemary roasted beef in the deli section.
I feed the withdrawal symptoms of my need to see the people, to watch them, to speak to them, to swim amongst them, and to stick my finger in the eye of the Pandemic’s unwelcome pressure on my life.
Today, I went to Whole Foods (after eating what might have been the best sausage, cheese, egg biscuit I have ever eaten at a Southern food place called “Fixe” in Austin By God Texas where I live) and it was filled with interesting people.
The shelves were fully stocked, the produce section was as colorful as any art gallery, the meat section was flowing with lovely cuts of beef, the bakery goods were tempting, the cheese section was cheesy, but it was the prepared food section that was the show stopper.
I have never seen the prepared food section so fully stocked, so beautifully presented, and the food so exquisite. The chef who had prepared the food talked me through his offerings and I commanded him to take a picture of the his food and send it to his mother — which he did.
At the checkout, I spoke to the team member who checked me out — moved from Little Rock to Austin and a mother-daughter duo from New Orleans newly moved to Austin. [We much refer our immigrants from New Orleans rather than California, but I will explain why another day.]
I ran into the father of a kid whose son — brilliant young man in private equity — went to school with My Perfect Daughter. He and my wife had already visited at length over by the sushi section comparing the exploits of children and the accumulation and geographical location of grandchildren.
It was like the old, normal, pre-Pandemic days, and I enjoyed it. It fed my soul as the food I bought will feed my body.
I am done with the bloody Pandemic. I hope the Pandemic is done with me. The Big Red Car is loose and on the move. Join me. I’ll be in the produce section and we will speak. The revolution has begun and I am enlisting volunteers.
[Clarification for the FBI/NSA/DOJ — when I use the word “revolution” it is a literary construct. I am not going to actually be conducting an armed revolution. Thought I would save us both some time. You have all those PTA moms and debutante moms — the extremists — to focus on these days.]