Monday, September 15, 2008

Into the pink

Now that I have done some work and my conscience is clear I can talk about what happened to me at the Hoowa Supermarket. That is the bright pink Oriental market on Sheridan Drive that I went to on Friday, I think it was, after I got my car photographed at Schmidt's.

Getting my car photographed was an adventure in itself. I had to do it because Howard switched our car insurance to Geico. The interview they gave me at Schmidt's drove home the point of how ignorant I really am, car-wise.

"What's your license number?"


"Are the seats leather, cloth or vinyl?"

"Uh... leather, I think."

"Are they heated?"


"Are they power seats? Do they move when you press something, or do you have to..." The Schmidt's guy imitated someone scrunching a seat forward.

"I don't know," I said. "I don't know if I have ever moved them."

I was glad when that was all over with and I could get back in the car and drive away. The Hoowa Supermarket was supposed to be my reward. I love these Asian markets. I love the smell you get when you walk in, this fishy smell. Very un-antiseptic. Does that make it septic, if you say something is not antiseptic? I will have to think about that.

While I was shopping I experienced faint embarrassment when one of their workers had to push past me and I smiled and said hi, like the Buffalonian that I am. He didn't say anything and didn't even smile, just stared at me. Stupid American, with the braces on her teeth, he was probably thinking. But oh well. That is culture clash and it is a good thing, considering that everyone told us 20 years ago that TV and computers would make all of us the same. They have not.

I selected my buckwheat noodles and curry paste and coconut milk. I want to make a coconut curry soup like the one Leonard Pennario and I used to eat at this restaurant in California. Then I picked up chili paste and a few other goodies. Then I proceeded to the checkout. And horrors!

There was a sign saying that you could not charge purchases totaling less than $20.

My bill came to only $16.

And I had only $11 in cash. With credit cards you can go around like that for weeks.

Now, they speak no English at the Hoowa Supermarket. So I said, very slowly, "I must buy more things. I do not have $20 worth of stuff."

The clerk impatiently gestured at me. "Is OK," she snapped. Then she shook her finger at me. "Next time!" she barked.

Everyone was looking at me. I slunk out of the Hoowa Supermarket with my head down, painfully aware of my smile-flashing, braces-sporting, "Hi"-saying, credit-card-using, non-cash-carrying, Crown Vic-driving, George Bush-backing, green-eyed American ways.

On the other hand, there are those cheap buckwheat noodles.

How low will I go for a bargain?

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