Pisani considers his organic offenses and snack sins
I realized I didn’t fit in with the Whole Foods crowd when I left my shopping cart in the middle of the parking lot instead of walking it back to the corral, and all hell broke loose. A woman started snarling at me and wagging her finger like I was wearing a MAGA hat.
Then, she lectured me like Greta Thunberg, which made me wonder whether I was contributing to climate change. But in the tradition of Gandhi, I nodded my head apologetically, gave her the peace sign and kept walking to avoid escalating the situation.
My first inclination was to ram the cart into the grill of her Subaru Forester, but I restrained myself and hurried out of the parking lot, which was more crowded than a tailgate party at an Ohio State game.
OK, I’m sorry for my sin. It will never happen again, although I have to say this never happens to me at Walmart, where it’s perfectly acceptable social behavior to leave your cart anywhere you darn wish.
These are the times that try men’s, and women’s, souls. Everyone is looking for an argument, but I avoided one because I was clearly outnumbered by people who eat a lot more roughage than I do, which, I’m convinced, makes them cantankerous. I was also afraid that if she kept squawking, a crowd would gather and drag me off to the pillory so they could toss organic tomatoes at me.
To tell the truth, my attitude toward all supermarkets has become a bit belligerent. Service has gone downhill ever since they started installing those self-scanners and charging you for bags.
I often feel out of place at healthy-eating food stores, where the aisles are congested because everyone is standing around reading nutritional labels. That’s something I never do. Growing up in Pine Rock Park, our diet largely consisted of things like Swanson’s chicken pot pies, Ring Dings and Ding Dongs.
I couldn’t even spell the word “organic” until I met my wife, and there’s always a domestic dispute in our home when I go shopping because I’ll bring back strawberries and blueberries that were grown the old-fashioned way, with pesticides and chemical fertilizers.
Whole Foods is the kind of place where I expect to run into Susan Sarandon and Gwyneth Paltrow, and I always get the feeling people are gossiping behind my back and making comments like, “See that guy? He eats Little Debbie oatmeal creme pies. What’s he doing here? There goes the neighborhood!” I’m a stranger in a strange land, as if I had “deplorable dieter” written on my forehead.
Nevertheless, my wife keeps sending me back because they sell human-grade dog food, and now the dog refuses to eat anything else. Pretty soon, she’ll want foie gras. When I was a kid, our mutt was happy with a bowl of Gravy Train.
Things got totally out of control over the holidays, when our daughters conspired to stop cooking Thanksgiving AND Christmas dinner — and made me drive to Whole Foods to pick up prepared dishes and a turkey. Let me say on the record that I’m suspicious of any place that sells “meatless meatballs.” I can’t imagine how a delicacy like that would have gone over in our Italian home.
My mother, who I hope is in heaven, was probably shaking her head in dismay even though she pulled a similar scam the time she told my father her spaghetti sauce was homemade, when it was really Ragu.
When I complained about the Christmas dinner, the family chefs sneered at me and grumbled, “If you want a home-cooked meal, make it yourself and you’ll see what it’s like to slave away in the kitchen for five hours.” Maybe I’m insensitive to their plight, but I’ve never seen one of them in the kitchen for more than 45 minutes.
I insisted we’d be better off going to the Greek’s drive-in for the Christmas chili dog special, but I don’t have to tell you how that discussion ended.
Joe Pisani can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.