Saturday, September 1, 2007

Pride cometh before a fall and all that

The quest for moral superiority is never an easy one; the road is rocky and on occasion the righteous pilgrim must act like a complete tool.
I departed from school this afternoon very smugly, as one of those annoying people who walk around with a little self-righteous smile glued to their face, because I knew that I was about to drive to Rockwall, a town about 25 miles away, to buy local organic veggies and chicken. I also decided to spend the rest of the afternoon with a friend who lives there and possibly visit such urban wonders as Target and Bed Bath and Beyond while I was in the neighborhood. On a roll, I was.
I got to the Friday Sale, a colorful collaboration of local farmers who sell the fruits of their labor from the backs of minivans in a parking lot on Friday afternoons. There was Barking Cat Farm from Rockwall, Akin Farm from Terrell, and Windy Meadows Chicken from Campbell. I came too late to get any tomatoes, but they still had plenty of fresh okra, peppers of all sorts, and bright yellow summer squash, all of which I greedily stuffed into the little brown paper bags provided.

I didn't even have to go through the piles to find a good specimen, as I usually do in the grocery store; all the pieces looked perfect. I also bought a whole chicken, and was advised to only use a little salt when preparing, because the chicken has such a naturally rich flavor and doesn't need seasoning. Also on offer were fresh eggs, honey, and homemade goat's cheese, which was creamy and smooth with a slight tang in the aftertaste.

Feeling very proud of myself, as I knew I would, I climbed into my car, which was like an oven in the heat. I had a sticky film of sweat all over before the A/C got going, and my hair was beginning to look suspiciously like Buckwheat's. As I still had an hour or two to kill before meeting up with my friend, I headed to Target.
This was when Alyse realized that while the top of the mountain may be a very satisfying place to be, there was no fridge up there, and Buddha shoulda thought of this be-fo. Leaving everything in the car was not an option: even in the shade it would spoil in minutes if it didn't actually cook. (I didn't consider the possibility that I could have returned to a savory lunch of roasted chicken and squash.) The solution I eventually adopted was to pull into a gas station, buy a bag of ice and a styrofoam cooler that could buy time until I could avail of my friend's fridge. I got everything packed into the cooler with the ice, wasting half a bag of ice in the process, but even then I was afraid that the extreme heat in the car would melt my ghetto-freezer immediately and all would be lost. So.

If you've got a minute, try to imagine a sweaty girl in a sticky grey tank top and power ballad hair carrying a bag of loose vegetables and a TETCO styrofoam cooler of raw chicken around a shopping center. Add a happy do-gooder smile that could reasonably have been misread as Stay Away From The Nice Lady Sweetie, and you've got a good idea of how I spent my afternoon. When I finally met my friend, the chicken and I had been through a lot together. I really wasn't inclined to respond when, watching me unpack the cooler, she said, "Um, are you carrying around a chicken?"

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