Friday, September 17, 2010

Market Misbehavior

How lucky are we that we live in the city that houses America's favorite large public market?! ( Located right down the street from our house, we frequent the market to load up on fresh, local produce, and to enjoy some homemade empanadas. Reading this recent article in our local newspaper reminded me of a time not so long ago when the boys and I attempted to make a quick stop on our way home from running errands.

On any normal visit to the market, I get anxiety just pulling in to the parking lot. Cars are driving in every direction, some weird version of a crossing guard is haphazardly directing traffic, yet it's unclear whether or not his eyes are actually open, and people are walking aimlessly toward their cars (while stopping abruptly at the faux Coach bags and tiger-face rugs which are appropriately placed in the middle of the parking lot), all while pulling rickety, overfilled pull-carts behind them (and likely taking out all small children who mistakenly will walk too close to the wheels). Hence the reason I am very rarely the driver.

This day, however, was not the norm. It was a random Tuesday morning, and I remembered on my way home from doing other things that the market was open for produce only. Great, I thought. The stroller is already in the trunk, and since it's the middle of the week, I'm bound to get a great parking spot. We'll be in and out in 20 minutes.

I pulled in to an excellent spot, and was pretty psyched that my plan was panning out nicely. I walked around to the back of the car, threw open the trunk, and was delighted to find out that the stroller was... ah yes, forgotten at home. Fantastic.

Ok, well, this wouldn't be horrible. There were only about 10 people milling around, only one row of vegetables to choose from anyway, and the boys were in good moods. We would all walk together. We could do this.

So we started walking. (Slowly. Very slowly.) First stop- some grapes. Easy enough until I look down, and my kid holding my hand with one hand (so I can't even pretend for a second that he belongs to someone else), and is touching all of the peaches with the other. Um, we'll take some peaches too. Yes, those ones right in front will be great. Thanks.

I really had no intention of making a second stop, but I also had no idea how much pressure I would feel as I walked down the aisle practically alone. (Where was everyone? At work or something? Weird.) The apple guy had really good intentions, I'm sure of it. Maybe he couldn't see Ty eying the plums, or maybe he just didn't care, but either way one thing is all I know: he, out of the goodness of his heart, picked a plum off of a huge pile and handed it to CJ. "Here you go, Buddy. This is just for you." Thank you, Guy, but you actually just did WAY more harm than good. Of course, it was no surprise that a riot between my two children was bound to erupt at any second. All CJ heard was that the plum was for him (and him alone, obviously), and all Ty knew was that he wanted one too.

Trying to redirect my children's attention, we walked up to the next vendor. ( I must say that even though it was weirdly uncrowded for such a usually crowded place, I was loving the quick service I was receiving.) As the only people at the stand, I had my pick of tomatoes. I noticed Ty's hand starting to notice that this guy was also selling plums, and literally before I had the chance to either pull it away or say NO, he had not only grabbed one, but had also taken a bite. (sidenote: I do feed my children. Honestly, I do.) That was approximately one second before CJ looked at the humongous guy in charge of this food and said, "Mama, is he a really fat guy?"

Oh God. Realllllyyyyy? Was this happening right now? My one kid's a thief, my other kid's a big-mouth, and my arm was turning purple from trying to carry too many plastic bags of cheap fruit. Lesson learned: next time, just stay home.