Yesterday I tagged along with E on his market runs. Ever since we fell back, I’ve fallen out of the habit of waking up at 6:30 in “get shit done” mode, so 7 am felt a little rough to me. Around 8:30, E picked me up in the Nopa-mobile and we drove up 101 to San Rafael.
Supposedly, the market up there is where parts of Gattaca were filmed, but I didn’t recognize it. Our first stop was to pick up brussel sprouts and other green things. The vendors were a couple of young guys, who, when they’re not selling vegetables, snowboard and surf (and also apparently smoke pot and check out girls, but I think these things may all go hand-in-hand). One of the guys helped us to the car and then we made our way to Jimmy at the citrus stand. Jimmy is a big, sweet, middle-aged man, who works with his family and gave us some mikan for free. After that, we picked up some dried fruit and nuts, more veggies and some snacks for ourselves. At the hot chocolate stand, the vendor asked if I wanted skim or whole milk. When I said whole, he said that he guessed that because I looked too happy for “skinny milk”. We laughed because even though we weren’t quite sure what he meant, we knew it was true. Then we ran into a lawyer, whose coffee E paid for (b/c the lawyer was out of cash). He told us a story of a man who had a good job and a wife and kids, but went and committed some crime. The man’s lawyer was just focused on trying to get him off, but the lawyer we were talking to said that when he gets a case like that, he wonders what else is going on. He said that when good people go and do things like that, he knows that it’s a symptom of some other problem and that it’s only the beginning of their troubles. I was touched, and a little surprised, by his compassion. I wondered how many people in his profession are able to maintain that sort of empathy.
From there we dropped our load off at Nopa, and then headed to Thursday Market at the Ferry Plaza. We picked up a few more things, visited some friends and had some lunch. It felt so normal even though we haven’t been to Thursday Market together since May or June. As we sat by the waterfront waiting for a delivery, I thought about what a gift it was to have grown up here by the Bay. It’s dirty and rash-inducing and you probably shouldn’t eat anything that comes out of it, but there’s something about the Bay that feels like home to me. The ocean appeals to my sense of vastness, but I think that the rhythms of my own body must be more in tune with the rhythms of the Bay.
I was tired by the time I got home, but there was a simplicity about the day that I haven’t experienced in a while. So many of the people I encounter throughout my day are in a hurry, or on their guard and I find myself caught up in that a lot of the time. But the people I met today seemed to have all the time in the world for themselves, their customers, what they were doing. And they all had an openness and sincerity that I strive for in my interactions with others, but am not always sure is being communicated (or maybe reciprocated is the word I’m looking for). It was nice to feel that kind of rapport and connection in such a simple, ordinary way.
Happy New Year to all!