I am still puzzled by my interaction with the checker at the grocery this afternoon. Somewhere in between piling my cart full of sugared soda, snacky cakes, bacon and other salted pig parts, cakey snacks and cheesy poofs, some fruit and vegetables ended up in my cart. At the checkout, the checker paused when he first reached the produce and at first seemed as puzzled to find them amongst the refined sugars. Then he turned to me, eyes swimming behind coke-bottle glasses, and said, "you want the organic fruit in with the non-organic stuff?"
I almost said "no" as my first thought the "non-organic stuff" he meant was the pack of batteries and ant-poison I was buying until I saw he had paused before loading a plastic bag full of organic bananas with apparently gentile grapes.
"Uh, sure...you can put all the produce together," I said.
Mind you, this wasn't Whole Foods or Sunflower Market. I didn't even know I had picked up organic bananas until he sort of wiggled them at me while I puzzled things over.
After he'd resumed his checking and bagging I couldn't let it go, so I asked him why.
"Oh, some people - you know - they want their organic produce away from the other stuff. If the organic stuff touches regular food it isn't organic anymore." He said this with a little shrug like "To each their own" while I sat there dumbfounded.
Isn't organic anymore.
It apparently loses organic status and becomes.....inorganic? The bananas go from Plantae Angiosperms Monocots Commelinids Zingiberales Musaceae Musa (thank you Wikipedia) to something found on the periodic table of elements.
And I had let it happen. I could feel the blood leaving my face just thinking how I had let my bananas, once as pure as the driven snow get trapped in the same plastic bag with a bordello of seedless grapes. The horror.
But then something took a hold of me. I told the checker to hold on and I took off like an excited St. Bernard puppy for the produce section. Grabbing a fistful of non-organic apples, I made my way through the organic produce like the angel of death. I rubbed the waxy, unclean, contaminated apples upon the virginal peels of the organic bananas, the thin skin of the $4.99 ea Organic Heirloom Tomatoes, and the collection of oddly shaped and colored potatoes that sell for the price of a troy ounce of silver. I used the stalks of non-organic green onions like Satan's paintbrush, soiling the organic plums, pears, and weak looking citrus fruit all the while frothing with the pervasive thought that if I my produce was rendered "in-organic"no one can have purity. Spent, and full of weary accomplishment I rejoined the rest of the checkout line to thunderous applause....
Believe it or not, I can understand wanting ones food to be "organic." But, what I don't understand, and frankly find stupid, is the thought that the mere touching of a leaf of conventionally grown spinach to a leaf of spinach grown organically will destroy the sanctity of that product. The effort that needs to be put forth to maintain the purity of a damn banana is astounding. And not only is that effort astounding, it's a simple veneer! Was the organic fruit delivered on an organic truck, powered by organic fuel, driven by a patchouli wearing hippy with dreadlocks? Was the organic fruit unpacked by workers with organic gloves that had touched nothing but the holy skin of the organic idols?
So, this will just be filed under #2230 of "Why the World Is So Fucked Up and No It's Not Obama's Fault". You can read the other 2229 of them in my book, printed on organic paper with organic ink. The books are placed on the organic, non-bleached hemp and bamboo bookshelf right next to the organic rat poison (now only 80% less effective than real poison) in your local grocery store. Oh, and I'd wash the organic apples in 100% organic spring water from 100% organic springs if I were you....I picked through them shortly after I left the bathroom...they didn't have any organic soap in there and I just didn't want to let anything impure touch my skin.