Sunday, February 26, 2012

I'm Not Snubbing You.....Really

All my life, I have had difficulty recognizing people when I run into them unexpectedly.  Until I found out about face blindness, I just assumed I was kind of a dorky spaz.  Or from the age of 19 to 26, drunk.  One night I watched a segment on face blindness and immediately felt a profound sense of relief.  I'm not a dork or drunk.  It's a weird condition that leads to hurt feelings, huffiness and some general inappropriate conversations when I guess wrong who a person is.

To sum it up quickly and easily, face blindness is a condition in which you have great difficulty recognizing people's faces and sometimes other objects, such as cars.  I have always had a problem with this.  When I was twelve I once passed my mother and a friend of hers on the street.  She called out to me and I turned and said, "Mom?".  Her friend asked her later if she saw me often.

When I was a young adult my friends used to mess with me in crowded bars and concerts by moving two feet to the left when I wandered off and then had a great time watching me try to find them.  I would stumble past them repeatedly, cursing until I finally saw them.  A cruel but entertaining drinking game.

It also led to some awkward encounters with guys I had hooked up with and would later not recognize.  It made me appear far sluttier than I actually was.  Well....not by much.

 what you get when you google "80's party chick"

Once I learned about face blindness, I took the online test.  My boyfriend did as well.  He scored around 88%.  I scored 33%.  You can take the test here  It was a pretty miserable experience for me.  I guessed a lot.  I'm not a good guesser.
 Image from test.  Still think it's the same dude in each one.

There's not a lot you can do for face blindness.  I recognize people by voices, the way they carry themselves or clothing.  I have a hard time with cars as well.  My boyfriend once described watching me search for the car.  He said I have this confused, annoyed expression as if someone has rearranged the world while I was gone.  That pretty much sums up what it's like.

So if I walk past you on the street, I'm not being a jerk.  I probably just don't recognize you.  Knowing what is wrong has helped a lot. 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The End of the Farmer's Market and Unfortunate Rabbit Conversations

So, this is the first Saturday that I didn't get up and walk down to the Winchester Farmer's Market.  It was a nice routine.  I wake up, have some coffee and wander down to the market to get fresh fish, meat, fruits and veggies.  I have to limit how much money I bring and not take my debit card because I go crazy at the market and buy all sorts of stuff based on appearance or other whims.

The market has become very popular, which is funny since when they first began discussing having a market, there were some people who objected to it.  One person in a discussion online even said it would bring "the wrong element" to Winchester.  Because everyone knows the sort of people who come to farmers' markets.

Here for the organic tomatoes

I've been going to the market since it started and have quite a few favorite vendors.  Top on my list is the fish lady.  This is the name of her booth.  The Fish Lady.  She has a relative with fishing boats and in the morning he parcels out the fish to various relatives and they sell at markets.  You really haven't had good seafood until you've had salmon right off the boat.  After that everything tastes like this.

A fantastic vendor is John Crow Farm.  They are out of Groton and sell beef, lamb, pork, chicken, duck, pheasant and rabbit.  They sell Highland beef, which I love because it's delicious and Highland Beef Cattle look like Chewbacca.  

Their meat is incredible and as someone who grew up in an agricultural state, I cannot stress the importance of supporting small farms and local fisherman.  This industry is being taken over by big corporations and it's awful.  Buy locally, buy from the food source and trust don't want your food coming from anything incorporated.  Support small farmers, support small fisheries or watch them die out completely.

And John Crow Farm leads me to one of the unfortunate rabbit conversations.  

I bought a rabbit for dinner and was at another vendor's, E L Silvia Farms, where I purchased potatoes and carrots.  This is how the unfortunate rabbit conversation went.

Me:  "I'm so happy you have potatoes. I just got a rabbit today."

Vendor:  "Rabbits eat potatoes?"

Me:  "No, they go well together.  I'm going to eat the rabbit."

A woman next to me gave me this look of horrified indignation as if I had blithely asked if they had apples to stuff in a baby's mouth because I was barbecuing that night.  I tried to make things better.

"The rabbit is dead.  And rabbits BITE, you know."

It didn't make things better.  She stomped off in a fume before I could suggest she watched this.

It wasn't just the food, it was also the atmosphere.  There was live music, artists with booths and the Winchester town common is a great space.  With a huge, sprawling oak tree that is centuries old, a lot of space to move around, it made for a relaxing, friendly environment.  It was fun to watch the children play and dance to the music and there was even a weekly story time, where older children read to younger children.  The Winchester's farmers market is run by volunteers, which leads to my other unfortunate rabbit story.

Let me preface this by saying the person I had this conversation was a very nice man.  I'm sure he was sincere in his actions and beliefs.  He obviously cared deeply for the market, the environment and part of me feels awful that this happened.   I really didn't intend for things to go so seriously awry.

It started with a conversation about how I got to the market.  He asked and I told him I walked.  He beamed and congratulated me, then told me that he always walked or used a bike with a small wagon attached and then added, "And of course we have a Prius."

"I just have poor motor skills and lack the skill set to drive at all," was my response.

The conversation drifted to the community garden and a rabbit problem he was having.  I suggested marigolds or coyote urine and he told me that he was just live trapping them and relocating them because that was the most humane.

My response is why I'm probably going to hell.

"Oh dear, it's baby season for rabbits.  I hope none of them had a litter.  They'd probably starve to death."

As soon as I said it, I would have given anything to take it back because the look of stricken shock let me know that this poor man had not for one second realized that his actions would be anything but helpful to the bunnies.

I tried to fix it.  "Oh, I'm sure they were the papa bunnies, because you know the mothers would never go far from the nest and....."  It didn't help and the man wandered away with the saddest look on his face.  I felt awful and it didn't help that a man standing nearby listening to the whole exchange snickered and muttered, "Very smooth" as he walked past me.

I avoided conversations with strangers for quite awhile after that and things went much better.

My wait until the next market season is made easier because the fish lady is selling her fish out of La Patisserie on Saturdays and one of my favorite shops called Pairings is having John Crow Farm there on Tuesdays.   I'm excited about that and will get to sleep in a little late on Saturdays and come up with some non-rabbit related small talk for next year.

Monday, October 17, 2011

This is Not for You!

I was packing away my summer clothes and came across a beautiful skirt and wrap shirt that I bought from this amazing shop in Newburyport. It's called Tina's European Fashions and Tina is both a wonderful and terrifying woman.  She is a short woman with a powerful personality that quickly overwhelms you in the nicest possible way.  She soon figured out that I was interested in buying and honed in on me like a honey badger on a cobra. 

I tried on this gorgeous black, tan and grey skirt which did look amazing on me and was considering a filmy wrap-around top.  I went to try it on, but my boyfriend was in the dressing room.  Did this stop Tina, focused on making a sale? Hell, no. 

"Here...try on here," Tina urged me.  "Here" being her postage stamp sized shop with the door propped wide open as the tourists thronged past and wandered in.

"No...that's okay.  I'll just wait until...."  Tina was having none of it.  She yanked at my top and said, "Is okay....try on."  Well then...THAT was a persuasive argument.  Enough so that I found myself taking off my nice, modest top and handing it to Tina who promptly tossed it away.

Note to self:  It really should not be that easy to get my top off. Must work on establishing personal boundaries.

Now I'm standing in a store about ten feet from an open door, wearing only a bra and the lovely skirt with Tina trying to wrestle a wrap top on to me.  She discovers it's inside out and yanks it right off me just as one of those boaty, golfy, WASPY couples that you only see in New England and BBC mini series wander into the store.

not the actual couple

Tina turns and sees the couple gaping at me and barks "This is not for you!" causing them to bolt for the door just as my boyfriend emerges from the dressing room to see me standing giggling helplessly, half naked in the shop.  He eyes me and Tina who seems to be attempting to hog-tie me with the wrap top and mildly comments, "I like this shirt, I'm going to get it."

My boyfriend is hard to fluster.

Now that the dressing room is open I suggest (beg) Tina that we move in to a more private area and she, using the long lengths of the wrap tie like reins, guides me into the dressing room where she proceeds to show me dozens of ways to wear the wrap top, only one of which that I remember.

I buy the top and skirt and I have to say, it was the most fun I've ever had shopping.  So if you're ever in Newburyport, stop by Tina's European Fashions at 30 State Street.  Just don't go commando.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Slow Children are on Their Own

I will admit a lot of stupid things annoy me and I focus too much on the trivial.  That's just how I roll.  It makes sense.  I can't do squat about world hunger or disease, but I can do something about the change machine in the laundromat being broken for over a month with no sign warning you it was broken.  So you load your washers and then discover you have to go out in search of quarters.  Solution, create sign after sign after sign, which the owner tears down for some unknown reason.  Well, the last sign was kind of threatening and involved a personal attack on his character, but hey.....six weeks is a long time to have a broken change machine.

My latest obsession are those damn slow children signs shaped like little yellow men with flags.  Which people put in the streets to warn people that their children get to play in the street.  Even if they have an enclosed back yard which would be better to play in.  Even though children should know not to play in the street.  I know that the edge of the sidewalk was like an invisible fence operated by my mother's raised eyebrow.  We hit that point, even at a dead run and we fell over yelping like a wounded animal.  Just with a look.  Here's my solution to the whole Democrats/Republicans refusing to work together.  Send my mom in to raise her eyebrow.  Trust me, they'd be playing nice.

But, I digress.  And that is not my mom.

So these STUPID little yellow men are popping up everywhere warning everyone that their children are going to be darting out in traffic or just sprawled in the road or something and that it's too much effort to keep them out of the street so it's on us to not hit them.  There are four in my neighborhood.  They keep multiplying, too.
One neighbor created her own speed limit of 15.  She has an actual speed limit sign in front of her house.  The speed limit is 20, except in front of her house. I'm actually going to adapt that to my home.  It's either going to be 5 or 80.  I haven't decided yet.

The whole thing enrages me because why are these people accepting the fact their kids are going to be darting out into traffic or (in the case of a neighbor) using one of those mini motorcycles that are about 8 inches high to tow another kid who is sitting in a baby stroller?  Why not keep them out of the street?

Of course I have a plan.  Well, I've had several.  The first was just to steal the little yellow men, but I thought of how humiliating that would be to get arrested for that.  I've never been arrested and I'm saving that experience for something a little more interesting than pilfering plastic dudes that encourage playing in traffic.  Then I thought I would affix small Confederate flags on the little flag decal these little yellow men have.  It would make everyone really uncomfortable, but they would have a hard time articulating why.

It's a war between me and the little yellow men and I'm bound to fail.  But, I'll go down valiantly, perhaps in the glow of a police car spotlight as I run down the street with one of these awful, lame figurines.  With confederate flag stickers falling out of my pocket.