I’ve been hanging out with a high school friend a lot this past week, and it’s been really good. Even though we’ve gone in different directions since high school graduation (more than nine years ago!), we always have a common ground. Sometimes you need to remember where you came from. Sometimes people who started in a similar place can remind you of that…
So, picture this: One night I take her “out” for dinner at Whole Foods. It’s too freaking hot in the apartment to even begin to think about cooking anything using heat, and I imagine her a meat-and-potatoes kind of girl, so I don’t attempt my usual (of late) fruit for dinner. (The truth: I don’t know if I can cook a classic “balanced” meal.) So we go to Whole Foods — I entice her by telling her about how you can get anything for $7.99 a pound. Like that’s such a steal…
She, the girl who I think is all meat-and-potatoes, flocks to the salad bar, and I, the city girl with dietary restrictions (and a crappy appetite lately), head to the hot food bar. I serve myself some meat and potatoes, and a little salad for good measure, but still, it’s becoming clear who is the meat-and-potatoes girl in this friendship. We sit outside on the patio (so calm, overlooking First Avenue in Cherry Creek, traffic whizzing by instead of the 5:00 exhaust-inhaling stop-and-go). She’s put some hard-boiled eggs on her salad, and laments that she misses the chickens she left at home (under the care of a friend of course, but nonetheless).
It is a strange contrast, that conservative country girl (one of my best friends in the world, but someone whose life is so different than mine) talking about her chickens, and how she’s left them in the coop so her friend doesn’t have to come over twice a day to let them in and out, and how they usually roam free. And we’re sitting in the dead center of my liberal world, outside the Cherry Creek Whole Foods, where Anyone With A Conscience shops because their food is Organic and Free Range, Natural, Etc. And also Expensive.
My friend says her eggs are so good, so much better than store-bought eggs. I don’t doubt her. Her hens lay more than she and her husband can eat, so they give them to friends (and sell them when the “buyers” insist on paying).
What do we know about where our food comes from? Really? We think we do all of these things (buy free-range, or organic, or natural, or whatever-they’re-calling-it-today). We pay more for this. We claim to have consciousness of our habits. But what, really, is more conscious than worrying about your hens while you’re away? We’re so disconnected from everything we use. Every. Single. Thing. We. Use…. Or eat.
…Anyway, enough of the lecture (which I need as much as anyone). Let’s all think more about where everything we buy comes from; what it would have taken to get those things (fruit, vegetables, eggs, meat, bags, cars, gas, paper, etc., etc., etc.) on our own……. What would we be if everything around us weren’t from someone, somewhere else?