At the office, I worked.
Dinnertime came; I munched.
Dinnertime went, and I went to the office fridge for a snack.
As I walked past my boss’s door, he looked up. “How are you,” he asked with the sort of concern that can only be voiced by someone who’s seen you leave work after 11PM for a week.
“Hungry,” I replied.
He stared at me.
“Oh, fine,” I said. “Never mind the first answer.”
“Ok,” he agreed.
I found myself a fruit stand. The produce is as good as it gets in New York city, and the prices are reasonable by someone’s standards. The fruitseller won me over by making my first purchase – two 16 oz packages of blueberries – $5. Given, it was after 10pm on a summer day. Regardless of the reason, I hold him in my esteem. I don’t think the feeling is mutual.
He sees me standing at his fruit card. he watches me. And watches. Then watches some more. He has so much time to watch because I stand there, stock-still except for my roving eyes, weighing the value of his produce. He always cracks first – and sends his boy to ask me what I want.
What I would like to tell his boy is this:
I want to stand here and contemplate. I’d like to evaluate the environmental impact of pesticides on Peruvian grapes versus the economic effect of buying from an immigrant’s fruit cart.
I want to stand here and convert the price per piece of fruit into price per pound.
I want to have a moment to recall how much money is in my wallet.
I want to figure out what precisely is ripe at this time of year – isn’t it too early for apricots?
Instead, I say politely, “One pound of green grapes, please.” The boy weights out one pound exactly, some days adding another bunch and other days removing a cluster. I pay in a mixtures of bills and coins. The boy grins, I take my daily serving of fruit, and the fruitseller sighs with relief. Until the next day.
Recently, my fruitseller had been missing. Do you think I drove him off?