Friday, June 8, 2012

Things I Tolerate

A banana.
That’s really all my 3 year old wants. 
A banana—right now.
So, we pull into the 7-11 on Lombard and Broadway in search of a banana.  While I am no 7-11 Connoisseur, I have visited more than a few 7-11’s over the past 37 years, though only recently for fruit.  As a last-minute meal planner and mother of three, I make frequent trips to the grocery store, where I usually buy fresh fruit along with things I either do or do not need at the time.  In fact, during my son’s banana melt down, I have four yellow bananas fresh from the groves of Giant Supermarket slowly ripening on the top of my microwave.
Despite the patented 7-11 layout, it takes a moment to orient myself once inside.  There, near the counter, where they seem to be in most 7-11’s, is the largest basket of brown bananas I have ever seen.  I wonder if he’ll eat plantains, I think.  Though the sign clearly reads bananas, the brown-spotted, banana shaped, not-quite-thick-enough-to be-considered plantains, are not bananas.  Those that aren’t brown-freckled are completely brown.  All are soft, some quite mushy, none quite edible.
My 9 year-old-son helps me find the least offensive of the over-ripe offering. Finally, with a brown-streaked banana in hand, I prepare to pay fresh-fruit prices for second-rate fruit.  Would they try to pawn off bad fruit at the 7-11 near my home in Woodlawn?  No.  At the large, brightly-lit 7-11 downtown?  No.  At the 7-11’s I have frequented in and around Catonsville, Glen Burnie and elsewhere?
“Yes.” the cashier says.
Her ‘yes’ is in response to my presence.  I am supposed to translate that into the ‘can I help you?’  I expected to hear.
I ignore the incensed beating of my heart, the outraged rushing of my blood, the maddened urgings of common sense.
“Are these supposed to look like this?”  I ask.
“I don’t know what they are supposed to look like,” the cashier answers.
            Rudeness, over-ripe fruit, asinine cashiers, I know people suffer these inconveniences every day. 
There are injustices I tolerate.  For whatever reason, brown-freckled bananas are not one of them.

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