I went to Wholefoods on Sunday night. I generally don't; my brand of socially conscious grocery is usually Trader Joe's, but Whole Foods is just a little bit closer to my apartment. It wasn't so bad; I was expecting to be charged 26.50 at the door, and checked for toxins on my way into the produce section. Really, the admission was reasonable and no one looked like they were even thinking about telling me about optimal colonic maintenance.
All I needed was one tomato, a bag of greens, and something premade-y for dinner. Frozen raspberries were on sale at a shockingly reasonable price, so I picked up some of them, too. I got a nice quesadilla, because it was the only item I could find with nutrition facts on it, and navigated my way through aisles of cruelty-free cheeses and fair-trade dish detergent to the registers. I admit, I gaped a little, drooled, let my jaw drop and stared at some wonders (goat milk ice cream!) like the suburbilly I am, but all in all, it was just a market.
Then I got in line.
The lines were long. I don't know if Whole Foods doesn't believe in express lanes; but this store certainly didn't. The registers were placed so close to the aisles that the lines bent around displays and doubled back on themselves like crazy vines. Organic, hand-picked, sun-dried, single-origin vines.
The guy behind me, dressed in the hempy, non-weather resistant livery of a vegan bike messenger, had only one item. I had four.
The woman at the front of the line was arguing with the patient, unfortunate, unenvied cashier over the ethics of pricing some vegetables per each, while others were priced per pound. The price difference between one avocado and one pound of avocado could not have been more than thirty five cents; the woman carried a two thousand dollar purse. She was enjoying herself. The cashier, less so.
Eventually, as Ms. Hermes-Guacamole was completing her transaction, I asked the guy behind me if he'd like to go in front of me.
We chatted. It was pleasant. I am charming.
Then, after a moment, he said "I hope that whoever bought you that ring knows that the diamond trade fuel civil war in Africa.*"
"Not this diamond, guy."
"Well, even with antiques..."
"No, guy- this ring is plastic."
I stood awkwardly for a moment, paid, and left. I was crossing the train tracks when I realized: That was flirting. That was how flirting goes in a world of organic salt and deodorant stones. Just as the proud peacock spreads his ludicrous tail, and the mighty gorilla scratches his tiny balls, so does the vegan bike messenger display his heightened sensitivity to the horrors of globalization to the unsuspecting law student.
*P.S. To all those hoping to impress girls holding organic produce, please be advised: Once Leonardo DiCaprio has starred in a movie about your pet cause, it becomes less impressive. Once one of Dick Wolf's ubiquitous teledramas does 42 minutes on it, it becomes a liability.