Saturday, August 10, 2013

Grandma of the Westside

I don't live in a particularly affluent area of town.
In fact when we first moved here, it was a roll up the windows and lock the doors sort of cruise down the avenue. It has gotten better, you only really need to consider it at night now.
I went to the local market down the street lovingly referred to as the ghetto market, as there are metal detectors and security guards at the front doors. The shoppers are mostly from our neighborhood, and our neighborhood has a fair bit of meth, a good mix of recovering addicts, alcoholics and nomads. There are families too, and that is what makes this section of town sweet and lovely.
Anyway, I went to this market to get three things, we only go to this market for an item or two, we rarely really do our shopping here because we often get fresh produce from the farm or go to trader joes. This morning was a typical visit for me, as I picked up the peanut butter and chocolate chips I watched a woman speak to herself, fill her cart and display the violent ticks of meth; her cheeks sullen and body bruised and scabbed. She saw me and quickly turned on her heels and then snapped her head to look again at me over her shoulder. I went and got my bananas, and was watched by a man leaning against the deli counter, his overstuffed and dusty backpack at his feet.
I stood in the 15items or less line and placed my items on the belt, waiting my turn, as the line grew quickly behind me. The woman directly behind me, saw I had brought my own bag and asked as she stepped out of line, unable to stand still, if I made the green living bag.
I said I had, and that it seems to get a lot of attention.
It is a small handmade tote I carry in my purse for occasions just like this.
It is red and covered in tiny colorful polka dots.
She said she liked it and it reminded her of handmade things like her grandma use to make.
I thanked her and then she told me I should start a business, I could sell them for $5 or $10 each,
but the market sold reusable bags for a dollar, so it might be hard.
I smiled and thanked her.
She repeated again that it was nice quality and was like a grandma made it,
I smiled and said, I could be the grandma of the Westside.
She liked that, it made her smile a big smile.
I paid for my groceries and the cashier mentioned how much work it was to make your own bag...
as I packed up and left I told the lady behind me to have a nice weekend,
and she said you too Grandma of the Westside, God Bless.

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