A petite Asian woman in a motorized scooter wheeled up to me in the wine department at TJ's and asked if I could help her. I thought she needed a bottle reached down from a shelf. But she wanted to know if I could recommend a wine to go with pasta – no, in a pasta dish she was making. “Does it call for a particular type of wine, a red... or a white?” No, she insisted, just a dry wine. “What's the recipe like? What else goes in the pasta?” Clams and linguine. Yay, bingo. “Usually,” I opined, that's made with white wine.” Oh, she added, and to drink with it, too. So we turned to the European whites and my eyes lit on a Muscadet, and that's what I recommended. I put a bottle in her basket, she thanked me and scooted off. A few minutes later the cheerful young employee who hangs out in the wine department asked me if I was finding everything I needed. "Yes, but," I joked, "I just did your job for you." Oh! she said, I saw that. I thought you were friends!
Same shopping trip, a little later, in the produce section at New Seasons. It's Wednesday, geezer 10% discount day, so the store is full of people even older than I am. As I'm reaching for the parsnips, a woman with an intent stare magnified by her glasses blurts out “Turnips. Know the best way to prepare them?” No, I do not. Tell me. “Raw.” You mean, like, grated? “No, just sliced. My kids, they used to eat them like potato chips.” She pauses. “Those grandkids, though? I can't even get them to touch 'em.”
My face in repose tends to go severe around the mouth. In photos I often look disapproving and unapproachable. It's called bitchy resting face, and it's a real Internet disorder. I've been reminding myself to smile more in public, at least relax those facial muscles. Apparently it's working.