Protesting

I handed the last two bites of a relish pasted, mustard slathered hot dog I was sharing with the cute guy back to him. It tasted terrible. The waitress asked if we wanted anything else. We shook our heads no.

"I'm not a tear gas kind of a girl," I said to TCG's friend in response to a conversation about activism while finishing my diet coke in a plastic cup. And knowing how ridiculous what I was going to say next would sound, I added, "That's why I eat local food." The napkin blew off the remaining french fries on my plate. TCG's friend looked at me, at the near empty plates around us, back to me.

"This is an exception," I said searching for an exclamation mark at the end of the sentence but the canned sauerkraut in a disposable condiment cup had diluted it to a period.

The caffeine spurned me on though. "I'm not going to be a radical protester on the front lines of a world summit meeting but I will be the first person at the farmers' market buying a bunch of carrots or a bag of arugula. That's what I can do."

TCG looked at his watch. We were supposed to be working on the boat but I had a point to make. "I can support local agriculture." I left out vote with my fork given that the one beside me was plastic. "I can remove myself from the industrial food grid." The waitress leaned the check between the umbrella in the middle of the table and a bottle of Heinz ketchup.

"No hurry," she said.

There was a pause and the unfolding of wallets. The conversation returned to sailing.

Eating a cold french fry I laughed inside at the scene of life crashing with ideals. It wasn't a pretty sight.

8 comments:

Theresa said...

Those moments of dissonance can be scary, but are good lessons in humility, I find. As long as I actually notice them. Sometimes it takes me a while to notice, and then I'm doubly humbled. You noticed -- that's good.

Green Bean said...

Oh yeah. Don't you just hate that. What can you do but, as Theresa said, take notice and realize that something is just not right.

Chile said...

Soda - ok. How about coffee? Have you given it up? Come let us know for the Quit Now Challenge check-in!

kale for sale said...

theresa - You got it, humbled. The pisser was I had real food in the car but I wanted to go along with the guys. I'm glad I was with them but next time I would do something different. At that restaurant I could have easily brought in my own food and no one would have looked twice.

green bean - And then tell on yourself!

chile - No, mam. No coffee here. I miss my friends at Starbucks though. They are so nice. But I'm more happy that I'm not tossing the disposable cups and lids and mindlessly filling up every day. It was my time to stop.

Chile said...

Katrina, interesting you say that about missing your Starbucks' friends. There have been some interesting things written explaining how this friendly culture is very deliberately cultivated as a business tool. If people have a sense of belonging, they will keep coming back. It's much like people shopping at a store with better atmosphere than the cheaper one down the street with lousy lighting and nasty checkers.

When I trained at Starbucks, there was some pressure to learn a customer's name and drink within 3 visits to help create that sense of belonging. Of course, a friendly outgoing personality was a must there.

kale for sale said...

Chile - You mean they don't just love me for me - it's there job to be nice to me?! I'm crushed. One woman actually would wink at me. I bet she got paid more. If not, she should have. She was good at it. I bet you were good at Starbucks too. Did you have a wink?

Chile said...

Um, Katrina, if she was winking at you, I think there was something other than good service going on... Hey, maybe if you wink back, she'll buy you a drink. ;-)

No, I wasn't good at Starbucks actually. I discovered, after going through the training, that my feet can't handle the job. (See here for the woeful tale of my foot problems.) I can run and walk but I can't stand in one place for hours. The gravity works differently. I got all teary-eyed when I told the manager I couldn't keep the job. Sad, too, because free drinks and ground coffee were some of the perks!

TQ said...

This one made me laugh -- I can just see you sitting there and squirming.

The picture is incredible!! I'm trying to figure out how you did it.