Search This Blog

Thursday, December 08, 2011

The Green Grocer's

a reprint

I had been buying a green grocer's; at Nino's, to be precise... Nino's in Rochester Hills. I was in the express lane, having only four or so items. One of my purchases was a bunch of fresh cilantro. The check-out girl was very fresh, young, and actually seemed to be enjoying her day. Her spirit was infectious, so I decided to play it nice, instead of nasty, brutish, and short. She blinded me with green grocery science.

She picked up the bag of cilantro with a motion I can only describe as that of Botticelli's Venus covering herself from the north wind. She placed it on the scale with a retrograde motion from head downwards, again, Botticelli. All Botticelli from here on. She opened her mouth and said "Italian parsley?" I, of course, smiled and nodded, thinking Si. Si, bella ragazza! Then the continuity girl caught the error, gave me a swift kick in the pants, and hastily whispered No. It's supposed to be cilantro. I coughed. "Er, no. Ummm. It had better not be. It is...or it's supposed to be cilantro."

"Oh," she demurely said. "I never know how to tell them apart." I glanced at the broad, flat leaf cilantro. It did resemble the Italian parsley, bless its chlorophyll. I tried to think of some sort of quip about how many Mexicans would be disappointed were I to show up with Italian parsley instead of cilantro, but it didn't quite come together: I had a distinct image of myself as H.W.F.Fowler standing in quad making derogatory remarks about errors in English syntax peculiar to speakers of Spanish...and I knew this particular goddess was - if anyone was - very, very liberal.
So, feeling a bit of a panic - I had been mute for a few clicks beyond what is socially acceptable - I reached out and grabbed the bag from the scale, lifted it up, and thrust my nose into it, as I imagined a milkman's horse digging into the old nose-bag at the end of a long day must do...and sniffed. "Ah," I said. "Cilantro."
I handed it back to her. She smiled, and said that that was o.k. for me, but she couldn't put her nose into peoples' groceries to tell cilantro from Italian parsley. All very smiley...sort of reminded me of Athena's white-washed picket fence of healthy teeth. The Iliad. Very classic type of day. I laughed and said she was right; her supervisors would hear about that right quick! More laughter. Smiles. I mean, exactly how did I go about buying groceries for the past eons before this? This certainly had that all beat ten ways to Sunday!

Well, like all good things, it came to and end, and the shark-like credit card reared its ugly fin. I chose paper, not plastic...I'm sure she was ecologically minded. I signed my name with a bold, sweeping hand. We bid each other adieu, adieu, until the pantry inventory ran dry and the rocks melt wi' the sun...or something to that effect. But, you know something? When people are that beautiful in our eyes, when they make your heart do that bass drum thing...... we don't really care where they stick their noses.

No comments: