Monday, May 22, 2006

To Market, To Market

Got a rejection letter today from an editor so I'm not feeling terribly inspired (least of all confident in my epistulary skills) so I'll offer a snapshot of my relatively prosaic afternoon as a mean recompense for my usual wit.

... just took a walk down to the grocery store & back, and felt compelled to share the sites and sounds of my little trek.

The Walk Down:

1) The Not Nice Men. Well, that goes without saying because I stupidly began my walk along the café side of the street to avoid the beggars. Clearly, I was asking for it.

2) Death (okay, two near death experiences) both involving black Peugots. Well, that goes without saying because I stupidly decided to exercise my right as a pedestrian and cross a street where there were cars. For such hubris, I deserve to be punished.

3) The Beggars. Well, that goes without saying because I stupidly walked along the mosque side of the street after having risked death by crossing said-street, only to avoid the Not Nice Men who frequent the cafes on the other side of Follow the Leader - so really, that was my fault. Seeking alms in front of god's house is a prime real estate opportunity for our mendicant brothers and sisters, but there seemed to be more than the usual number out today, although the regulars were there: the mother with the hydrocephalic child, the blind man (ooops, visually challenged) in his crisp white jellaba, the assorted old crones who look like extras from Macbeth ...

The Grocery Store: For the curious, this is the Label Vie on Follow-the-Leader, the less salubrious instalment of a chain of minsicule grocery stores. Indeed, it has been nicknamed by a friend as 'the Dirty Label Vie' to distinguish it from its sparkling, wide-aisled brethern. All in all, it was a fairly benign (or at least, not a malign experience) today. True, I had to wait 5 minutes for my fruits & vegetables to be weighed, I was hipchecked & poked in the ribs by half a dozen people who just had to pass me (without excusing or announcing themselves) in aisles that are about 2 1/2 feet wide, a kamakaze kid with a kiddie-size shopping cart ran over me foot, and the woman behind the cheese counter sniggered at my French but they did have pretzels which weren't cooked in beef tallow and the check-out girl was abnormally generous in dispensing the plastic grocery bags - so who am I to complain?

The Walk Back:

1) The Dead kitten. Well that was just plain nasty. No one needs to nearly walk on top of anything dead (unless it's an ex) but dead kittens are particularly heart-wrenching. At least for me - I confess that I do have a colleague at work who refers to them as city-rats. All of R
abat's female cats that survived the last Stalinistic purge (remarkably, all of our neighbourhood cats disappeared one night) went into heat about 3 months ago and now a gazillion kittens are running amok. Evenings in Agdal are punctuated by the mewling of starving kittens - a questionable improvement on their mothers caterwauling in heat a few months back. I confess that I routinely carry cat food in my purse and am generally watched with incredulity by many a concierge as I dump turkey & giblets underneath parked cars and on sidewalks. *Sob* this little one was cute ...

2) The Beggar by the Boulangerie. Well, that goes without saying because I stupidly wended my way back so that I had to pass the bakery and she's a regular. I knew she would be there so I am either stupid, or subconsciously I wanted to see her. The last time I passed her by, I gave her my doggie bag of eyes-too-big-for-my-stomach pizza from that afternoon's luncheon, so I figured that my karmic debt (
vis-à-vis her) has been paid in advance until 2007. She was cramming a baguette into her mouth as she accosted me, so I didn't feel terribly guilty. That'll teach her to speak with your mouth full.

3) The Rooster. What can I say? - I could hear a rooster crowing from some backyard or apartment roof or balcony, as I walked the rest of the way home. In Agdal. Go figure.

4) Urinating child. Well that was just plain nasty. No one needs to nearly walk into anything urinating. Squatting in the middle of the sidewalk, she was doubled over watching her prodigious stream of pee splash the sidewalk, mesmerized as if she were watching the cascading majesty of
Niagara Falls. I guess a sidewalk is as good a place as any to defecate - especially when you're five years old. I mean, it's there and you have to go, and you're not wearing knickers anyway so it's pretty convenient ... as it turns out, she was the child of The Beggar by the Boulangerie. Next time I pass by, I'll toss some underthings her way instead of my pizza box.

5) The Rooster. Did I mention the rooster?

... that's about it. So glad the day was uneventful.

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