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.

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