Another blessed, quiet, beautiful morning on my porch. Cool wind blowing the trees, overcast sky with windows of pure blue. Kitty on the rug staring me down, begging for my breakfast. And it's truly a cat's delight...oatmeal with flax and dried cranberries...haha! There is some noise off in the distance that is probably some kind of road construction team. When I first heard it, still in my dreamy morning mind, I imagined that it was a drum circle really rocking out! Oh, the joy that would bring, to wake up to that kind of "noise" on any given day! But, too, there are other sounds that draw me in more deeply than the road construction noises far away. Crickets are singing their songs, and a couple of crows are calling out to each other. Could they still be chasing that hawk, like they were on Sunday? These are the timeless sounds that lure me out of my mind, and into my heart...into the whole wide world, of which I am an inseparable part.
Yesterday I had another crunchy time. It was mid-afternoon. I had enjoyed a luxurious morning, and had finally gotten myself together to leave the house. I needed to take care of a few errands, stop by my friends' house to take care of some housesitting chores, and have some lunch before I made my way to class. Unfortunately I didn't allow myself enough time to take care of all of it. I left my friends' house with ten minutes to spare, hoping to stop by David's Natural Market to get some lunch. Okay, it was nearly 430pm, that's not exactly "lunch" as we define it in this culture. But it was the time when I needed to eat something, and I was hoping to find something good there. Well, I did. The kitchen closed at 4pm, and I found some prepared foods in a case nearby. I went to the "cafe" area of David's in search of a microwave. Nothing. I looked around, curious. Nothing. Finally, I found an employee, and asked her where I could heat up the food. She wasn't sure, and asked an older man, who was sitting at a desk in the front. He gruffly informed me that there was no microwave. Now, in the open kitchen, I had walked by one! I said as much, and asked if someone could just heat up the food for me. Once more, gruffly, he said "we're not supposed to do that. The kitchen is closed and that is that." I was stunned. There was a microwave right there, in a food-prep section. But because of some arbitrary "rules" he was flat-out refusing to render my beans and rice dish edible. Not that it was busy, I was the only customer in sight. Just out of beaurocratic rules...or perhaps he might cite a "health code violation" if I pushed him further. Stunned, I dropped the food on the conveyor belt by the register, and informed them they'd lost this customer.
There are so many pieces of this that are fucked up! That a food market that prepares food and sells that very food would refuse to heat that food for a customer - this is insanity! That "we're not supposed to" is used as an excuse - this is pathetic at best. That some arbitrary bullshit rules actually have some degree of weight in peoples' lives - as opposed to stepping up with some degree of personal responsibility and making the decision that is kind, humane, logical. And stepping beyond this isolated incident - that this is the SECOND time in around a week that I have been given the same answer!! My mind is effectively blown.
But what I'm also hearing beyond this is important to acknowledge too. I have been on the fence about having a microwave for a while now. It sure is fast and convenient when it comes down to eating or not eating at the last minute. I've had friends who absolutely refuse to own a microwave because of the fact that it's using radiation to heat food...and that it destroys the quality of the food. And now, twice in a week, I have been refused access to a microwave in public to heat my food. Irritating, yes. But is it also pointing me to a deeper need?
I have let go of convenience in many parts of my life. I cook for myself much of the time, instead of going out to eat. I take my own bags to the supermarket. I opt for products with no packaging whenever I can, and then factor into my purchases the environmental impact of whatever packaging there is. I almost never buy processed foods in the market, and when I do, I only buy organic. I try to be as economical as possible about driving, and include as many stops as possible in a small area, so to not waste gas driving all over the place. I have been composting my organic waste for more than a year, and will hopefully have something to contribute to the health of the garden once Spring returns. I enjoy making choices that are better for the environment, and also in alignment with my own desire to slow down and enjoy life more. I don't buy cookie dough at the store - I bake my own from scratch, and wow, they are so much better! Has the day come for me to let go of this next "convenience" - to get rid of the microwave?
Once again, I am brought back to the very thing that made me decide to start this blog in the first place - contemplating my life, and the changes that I may need to make in order to live more simply, and also to nurture myself in ways that are missing. Do I really need a microwave? I don't often buy frozen food, and have found a variety of ways to heat leftovers - in pots, in the oven, in the toaster oven, in my steamer. Hmmm...this sounds just about right. Maybe it's time to put the microwave in my basement, right next to the TV. ;)
Fortunately, on my way to class, I did decide to stop and find some food. I stopped in another small health food store - Good Life Market in Severna Park. They always have several crocks of homemade soups, hot and organic, and vegetarian, and ready to go. The owners are Indian, and so very nice. They asked which soup I chose, and told me that the Curried Cauliflower Chickpea is one of their favorites, very satisfying as a whole meal. I left, dinner in hand, feeling like my faith in humanity had been restored. This is a business that I am grateful to support. And the soup, as always, was amazing.