Saturday, March 12, 2011
If you read my last blog entry, it will probably come as no surprise that when my mother called a few weeks ago and asked if I wanted to attend an event known as "Crazy Charlie's Meat Sale", that my response went a little bit like this: hell to the yes. My apologies to my Christian brothers and sisters, some words cannot be confined by an asterisk.
This is how the story goes: I was in bed, pondering my fate on one of those rare Saturday mornings I'd wound up alone in the house. Seriously, there was no bait-and-switch or false witness involved, still I'd managed, somehow, to bow out of our weekly trip to the lumber/hardware/tractor/dirt store, which although often includes a doughnut course, almost always comes with a generous helping of tears (the children despise farm-related errands)--and, all in all, is not that great of a time compared to lying in bed in delicious silence. As in, no little person appearing at your bedside to request you immediately turn on PBS, and when you say in a minute, they start counting.
So my mom rang, and even though it was her birthday, she plowed right on through my heartfelt felicitations to the true nature of her call: The meat sale and was I going or not? I'm usually game (ha!) for most bargains, but to be certain, I'm no Mrs. All-American Meat-Lover. I prefer my Pad Thai with tofu, close-ups of sausage pizza make me nauseated. And while I did spend a couple of years in an identity-crisis-related/doomed-relationship-induced state of vegetarianism (translated: my boyfriend was one), on a random Sunday afternoon, home from college, I consumed three servings of meatloaf out of nowhere. And that was the end of that. Still, I do care about things like standards: what did this thing eat before it died, how many times was it washed with bleach before it was labeled safe enough for my consumption, etc. You know, questions one doesn't necessarily consider whilst mowing down one's neighbors in a race for the cheapest styro-pack of chicken thighs.
I said yes anyway. On the basis of the following: quality time and that she was buying. You really shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth, should you? Grass-fed diets and ethical treatment aside, we still have to eat, I rationed. Besides, I like a Saturday morning bargain hunt. It was just like old times--almost.
As I stood in the driveway waiting, I thought, once again, how different my life is now. One of my last forays into the world of big-city bargain scavenging was Kim Zolciak's garage sale. I didn't go, but her realtor and I have a mutual friend who tried to talk me into it. I declined, but mostly because I knew they'd be filming and the last thing I wanted to worry about was being caught on camera with my wig on crooked. Just kidding, I don't wear a wig. But I do like to roll out of bed on the weekend and not wear makeup or comb my hair and let's get real, Ms. Kim does not rock that romantic prairie aesthetic. She is gilded bedposts and silicone and I am Earl Grey Tea and moccasins. Time was running out by then anyway-if I was to score any more deals in Atlanta there'd be no time for circus sideshows.
Speaking of sideshows, it must be said that within 25 minutes of our arrival at the local supermarket, the atmosphere around the meat counter had reached such a frenzy that at one point, I looked over at my mother and she was holding an enormous cut of beef, unwrapped, in her bare hands. It had apparently loosed itself free of the plastic wrap and while she was undisturbed by this development, I found it both profoundly hilarious and frightening and had to excuse myself to laugh in private. And douse myself in hand sanitizer.
After we'd checked out, I got in the van and realized this really wasn't that different from Kim's sale. After all, her sale was a meat market in its own right. Everyone's just trying to move the merchandise, I suppose. And I would go anywhere with my mother, really-- in the last ten years, there were more days that I can count that I longed for her to be with me on my weekend treasure-hunts. And I, for the most part, like to be alone. The best part of the whole morning? After we got home, surrounded by meat, my mom sighing over the fact that she hadn't gotten anything to make for dinner. And I am not kidding you, she went right back to that grocery store for a pound of ground beef.