28 April 2007

Organic Whaaa?

I am a waitress. It is not my proudest fact, it is not the accomplishment I want to scream from the mountaintops, it is not even something that I want to whisper to a person that I have cordially met on the street. Although this dirty little secret of mine does not exhibit a proud example of my mental abilities, at least it is a means by which I am able to pay my own rent. A feat often accomplished haphazardly by most in my age group.
The restaurant I have claimed as the den of my comfortable employment for the last couple of months has from time to time aroused something of a moral dilemma inside of me. I am a person who strongly believes in eating organic, sustainable, locally grown (when possible) produce, meats raised, treated and slaughtered with respect. I support farmers markets, restaurants that serve organic, raw, vegan and vegetarian foods and markets that do the like (Wahoo Trader Joes). Now the place I work at does serve organic and local, but not always, and not advertised or even hinted at on the menu. This is a tragedy in my opinion. So—my remedy is to inform people when they have made a sustainable food choice.
It seems that one justified true belief any semi-conscious person has been assaulted with during his or her time on Earth is: just because you believe something doesn't mean that anyone else does. Hell, you're lucky if everyone else doesn't think your a looney-looney. But, of course, there are exceptions to every rule, and in my mind, the golden exception is found in the lair of organic foods. Who doesn't want to eat organic? Sure it is more expensive, and sure, it is harder to find, and decidedly less available. But if you are doing the every-other-day grocery shopping (which we all do) and the produce section of the day offers an organic banana for $1 and a normal banana for $.75, who doesn't buy the organic one? I am a waitress for a living and I buy the organic one!!! We all saw "An Inconvenient Truth", we know about the devastating effects of irresponsible farming, faulty irrigation practices, harmful pesticides, wishy washy GMOs, etc? Who doesn't want the organic banana? If you are George W. Bush and you are reading this, please, do not bother to answer, but any other well-rounded logical person! Please, help me out here.
So, here is the story. I picked up a weekday shift for one of my favorite co-workers. A woman came into the restaurant around noon, she was a cool breath of fresh air in the middle of a dry 2-hour period where not one new customer was to be had. I was busy inside cleaning the windows (a task that is common for people in the service industry and employeed at slow restaurants). I went out, gave her a menu, she ordered an Ice Tea and I brought it to her. "Thank you,” she said, “my friend is coming, she will be here soon, so I will just wait for her until I order," she assured me. "Okay," I responded with sisterly charm, "the tea is organic and I will come out as soon as she shows up."
I went back inside to continue the task at hand, and several minutes later her friend arrived. This woman's personality was decidedly different from her friend's. "Hi--I'll have an Ice Tea," she demanded as soon as I went onto the deck where they sat. "Oh, okay, I'll bring you one right away. It's really good, it's organic," I exclaimed.
You can imagine my dismay when her response to my comment (one which I thought anyone would be happy to hear, especially since the tea is $1.50 with endless refills) was, "hahahaha, ha, ha, chuckle, I don't care about organics."
My face must have revealed what my heart was screaming, which was--'what! You don't care! Who the %#@* doesn't care, certainly when the caring in question is $1.50.’ She looked at me, I looked back, she said, "oh, you know honey, it really doesn't matter to me." Well, I certainly learned something that day. I went inside, reduced to the dillusional window cleaner, defeated.
Whether the lesson to be learned is that more people need to wake up about organics or that I am lost in an idealist dream world of fanciful farming, I do not know. But I am still as confused as a lost bubble bee.
I served the two ladies the tuna melts they ordered and watched them leave, with $5 fluttering on the table. A generous offering for a waitress/window cleaner soon to be in a mental ward (or so the one thought).
I am still confused, but what to do? Shouldn't I advertise the tea? It is organic, after all.

26 April 2007

An Ironic Journey Into the World of Metalheads

My boyfriend is something of a music connoisseur. This means he has an extensive record collection, has decorated our apartment with music related posters, and of course, relishes the chance to get out there and go to a live show from time to time. While for the most part I certainly enjoy his taste in listening pleasures, he does have a couple LPs that I never listen to when I am hanging out in the house alone. The bulk of the genre I choose to avoid is found in his small, but neatly organized Metal section. However my reluctance to put on the occasional "DarkThrone" album was not enough to hold me back from accompanying him to the Heaven and Hell Metal show that was going to be had in a town nearby.
Now, "Heaven and Hell" didn't seem all that bad to me. After all, it is basically "Black Sabbath" minus Ozzy and plus Deo. Honestly, who doesn't love to heart the powerful, beating synthesizer that distinguishes Rainbow in the Dark on stormy night while you dare to turn on the classic rock radio station? But---my, oh my, I didn't have any idea what I was getting myself into.
I have never been in a room with so many extra-large tee shirts in my life. I felt like I was at a biker rally where no one can come in and save you, you're gone, dead, destroyed. I had the distinct feeling that someone wanted to beat me up. Everywhere I looked loomed large, perhaps angry, perhaps violent, perhaps posing, men. It was like going to your high-school reunion on the set of Michael Jackson's Thriller video and the only people who showed up were the ones who dropped out of high school. This was a bit intimidating for me, especially since I was basically wearing my "If you want to beat up a pansy college graduate who loves to read and bake" shirt. I was scared.
This show was at a large venue with seating ranging in price. In order for me to go to the show, I pleaded that we save our money and purchase the cheapest ticket possible---bad idea. When I saw our seats I wanted to cry/pee my pants/run. We were squeezed in between a 250 pound, 6 ft. 2 inch skin head in his mid-to-late thirties and a screaming lunatic that looked like he was kicked off the set of Hawaii Five O and was still screaming, upset, and quite dry mouthed because of it. To top it off, we were in the back row, with our backs against the wall, nowhere to turn, nowhere to run.
So--we did what people like us do. We stole someone else’s seats, next to a nice, meek looking couple. This plan of deception didn't last long, we were soon found out by an employee who was leading a lost group of drunks to their real seats. This kind and gracious employee then led us to our "in the back corner of hell next to Satan's screaming idiot" seats. Thanks buddy.
So there we sat, nervous, unimposing. Things would have remained stiff-lipped until something amazing happened. I began to watch the band from my distant position in my cheap, pathetic seat. "Megadeath" was playing, and although I know very little about them and do not particularly enjoy their music, something beckoned me to watch. The three front men, flanked by a massive backdrop of some half-dead satanic being, drew me in. Something became clear to me. All three front men were wearing jeans that fit them perfectly. They all had neat, bohemian rocker-type outfits on. They wore matching black wristbands. Very much unlike the audience they brought in, screaming obscenities at them, pounding their working-class fists into the air, the members of this band all looked like nice boys who you could bring home to your grandmother. As their set came to a close the lead singer approached the microphone and said, "I hope you've had fun, because we sure have!"---Was I leaving Disneyland, was that Mickey talking to me. This guy in a band named MEGADEATH just said, in a cheerful and happy, cake eating voice that yes, he sure did, he sure did have fun. Yeaya. What? Where am I, am I having an out-of body experience?
Of course "Megadeath" was called back on stage to play one final song. As they rocked out, surely having fun, surely thinking about what to wear later in the evening, they began to head bang. I have to say, they might have had the most beautiful hair I have ever seen. They stood their, beating their heads in their air, as their soft, blond mid-back length hair eclipsed their heads like snow hallowing a snowman. It was lovely and would make any stylist proud. They ended their song, said, "You've been great, we've been Megadeath," and left the stage. The lights came on and I turned to my boyfriend and said, "I don't want to ruin any Metal band member fantasies you have, but all of those guys blow-dry and brush their hair. I am certain, I know blow dried hair when I see it." He smiled at me and we got up to leave. But not before the huge skinhead next to me, looked over and said, "yes, yes they do." He knows what blow dried hair looks like too.

***I just want to say that I had a good time at the show and respect and appreciate Metal and Megadeath, the show was good and I do not think that if you like Metal you didn't go to high school.