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Thursday, December 13, 2001
      ( 12:22 PM ) Jackie  

Down But Not Out

Shopping in those big grocery stores is always a bit overwhelming for me. I tend to get philosophical, even melancholy. How many brands of toothpaste or tomatoes or drain cleaners do we really need anyway? Doesn’t all this ‘choice’ drive up the costs of items? Shouldn’t we be using vinegar and baking soda for the drains? And the insect killers, what does it mean to be the “best” killer of insects?

How fresh are those oranges? Who picked them, and where, and how old were the people who picked them? Were they children? What were they paid?

Why are all these apples so perfect? I’ve seen apples in their natural habitat, right on the trees. They get bruised, munched on by insects and worms. What poisons made these so perfect? Did the slightly bruised, munched on ones get thrown away? Or were they tossed, insects, worms, bruises, and all, into the applesauce vat?

On Tuesday, at least I think it was Tuesday, I rose from my sickbed to buy the necessities of life: fizzy water, crackers, gelato, and shea butter. The only place I could think of that had all of these was Whole Foods – though don’t count on getting anything so mundane as soda crackers.

I wobbled to the car, took the parking ticket off the windshield (I’d slept through the street cleaning on Monday), and drove to Whole Foods. It was Full of People and Things and Sounds and Milling Abouts and Talking and Singing. I managed to make my purchases, even waited with shaky knees and imminent headache at the deli to buy some chicken and Latkes for dinner-- not such a great idea as it turns out. Returning to my car, I remembered I had change in the armrest and dug out 50cents for the guy I’d waved away when I arrived. How could I buy Latkes and chicken and shea butter and refuse to give money to the homeless?

I came home, put away the gelato and tumbled back into bed. Upon waking at nine on Wednesday morning I took some Tylenol PM and slept the rest of the day.

Now it's Thursday and I’m up and drinking coffee with soy milk, catching up on my email, reading Choire’s Adventures in Miami, and tossing the tennis ball to Sasha (who is a dog).

My road trip to Waukegan, Illinois, and Ironwood, Michigan, is scheduled to begin on Monday. Every once in a while these past few days I’ve got up to wander around the house in search of my Atlas, No luck. So I’ll get to the Triple A today or tomorrow so I can plan a route.

My cousin Virginia will be in Ironwood and is eager to talk about our family. She sent me photos of my grandmother Maria Perhalla and grandfather John Repischak (my mother’s parents). These are the first photos I’ve ever seen of my grandparents, both of whom died when my mother was a girl. My grandfather was a miner and died in the mines. I don’t know about my grandmother. Maybe Virginia will tell me!

Susan wants me to help at the Cinnamonster when I get to Waukegan. I don’t even have to wear the prescribed khaki pants. I guess if she can teach high school students to make Cinnamon buns and correct change, she can teach me, too.

Sasha has been mightily neglected. But she gets to come on the road trip, so maybe that’ll make it up to her.

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Words and photos from Jackie in Oakland, CA. More I cannot tell you ... I won't know what it is until I do it.

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