What do New York twentysomethings talk about while sipping glasses of wine and sharing bites of compost cookie? Grocery shopping, of course.
"I mean, I love how it says something about you if you shop at Trader Joe's," I said.
"Like, you want to be cool, you want to be fun, you want to wait in line for twenty minutes?"
"But I get the peanut butter cups. That totally cancels out the line."
"I'll toast to that." And we clinked glasses for the fourth or fifth time.
"What about Whole Foods, though?" she asked. "You know there's going to be a new Whole Foods in Brooklyn."
"Hmm. It's a way to say, I care about my food being organic, I care about it being classy, and I don't care how overpriced it is."
"You don't shop there, do you?"
We both cracked up.
"Okay, I’m not sure about this. Whole Foods is almost too perfect for Brooklyn. There's nothing ironic there."
"But it’s honest! And it’s natural and organic and pure.”
“Trader Joe’s is like David Foster Wallace. It’s big and crazy and disjointed and human. And the footnotes are great.”
“Coming soon! Based on the book! And the movie! And the video game! And the fast-food-chain kiddie-meal toys! Infinite Jest: The Grocery Store!”
“Isn’t that exactly right, though?”
“Hmm, yeah, you’re pretty spot-on.”
“So then what’s the book version of Whole Foods?”
“Huh, a Whole Book..." We took long sips of wine.
“Everything in there is very beautiful. Carefully presented. If it’s there, it’s there to be appreciated and savored.”
“Oh, I liked Bel Canto, but that’s not it.”
"Okay, fine, not music. But she's good. She pulls together everything into a tight little book."
“We've got to think bigger. Whole Foods isn’t Jonathan Franzen, is it?”
“No, I don't think so. Well, I haven’t read Freedom yet. But yeah, something all-encompassing.”
Time to pour more wine.
“Wait." She took a swig and looked at me. "I've got it. Jhumpa Lahiri.”
“Unaccustomed Earth! That's it! Whole Foods is virtuous and organic and beautiful, and so is Jhumpa Lahiri!”
“She’s amazing.” My friend pulled her e-reader out of her purse. “Listen to this: ‘He still had the power to stagger her at times—simply the fact that he was breathing, that all his organs were in their proper places, that blood flowed quietly and effectively through his small sturdy limbs. He was her flesh and blood, her mother had told her in the hospital the day Akash was born.’”
“God, that’s gorgeous.”
“Yep, we’ve got it.”
She poured the last of the wine into both glasses.
“Now what about Gristedes and D’Agostino’s?”
image credit: washingtontimes.com