Hysterical Encounters II

August 17th, 2008 § 0 comments

(at the farmers market)

Inwood has its own neighborhood farmers market, not very large compared with others in the city, but large enough and close enough to render us regular Saturday goers. Considering that we live in a predominantly Dominican neighborhood where English is the second language, the farmers market is strangely white. The sellers are what the Fossil calls yuppies who moved outside the city to become farmers (occasionally organic) that are now “one” with nature. The markets customers are of a slightly different sort, most are considerably older than we are, families with children, who shop with a pushy determination to get “the best” first. I miss the Arab market in Monty, somehow it was busier, dirtier, much cheaper, and far less claustrophobic—here elderly ladies follow you from booth to booth stepping on heals. Americans don’t really seem to be comfortable in an environment that is not regulated and familiarly corporate, the smallness of the booths and the “unorthodox” setting makes us contagiously self-conscience.

Despite this, however, it unanimously beats the markets (especially those in Inwood). The produce is good, it tastes shockingly like food ought to taste. We have been enjoying corn, zucchini, and numerous leafy plants the Fossil loves to munch. The fruit reminds me of the trees we grew in California, apples that taste like sun, peaches that are always bruised but drippy with flavor anyhow. There is the milk lady who sells whole milk, and yogurt at the organic bakery. The bread, though good for American bread, cannot compare to the worst French bakers. I still miss the simple pleasure of spending less than a euro, and walking home with a warm loaf of bread.

I think it was Gopnik who said, “there are no content new yorkers.” More complaining I have rarely heard, no one seems to hold “normal” Markets accountable for their terrible quality, but here people have no qualms about complaining loudly to the workers. Every weekend there is a small drama, an elderly lady who has been slighted in line, a young woman with three children who grabbed a rotten tomato, someone who trips over a small dog named Speedy. This past Saturday, however, there was a drama that traumatized the entire market crowd. A women in her thirties, with a small boy in hand, was running through the marking searching for someone. We paid little attention until presently she began yelling, Kennedy! A few heads looked up, some turned, others were still busy in conversation. The voice called again and again, however, louder each time, growing more and more shrill. Kennedy! Kennedy! Kennedy! At this point the level of desperation, fear, and growing hysteria in the mother’s voice had everyone’s attention. The staff at the market approached and asked:

Are you looking for a boy or girl?
A little boy!
What does he look like?
Exactly like this one!

It was an amusing statement in hindsight, when she finally found her other son I realized they were twins. This conversation was all the time she could waste, however, and resumed to shrieking Kennedy! Kennedy! Kennedy! The whole market was trying to look, but most were paralyzed by her screams. It was a horrible sound, no longer a name but a cry of terror. We were selfishly thankful she found him because it put an end to her jarring cries.

It was hard, after that, to revel in fresh Strawberries.

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