This morning, in Fairway, my preferred NY market, and a store that both blends the gourmet qualities of Whole Foods with the humility of your local grocer--to say nothing of its wonderfully explanatory food notes (especially concerning olive oil), and Steven Jenkins's Fairway Blog--I had a spill. Thankfully, I'm not referring to a physical fall, but to the leakage of some white liquid onto the plastic bag holding my figs.
"I think it's the soy milk," said Juanita, my favorite register clerk.
"Could be, or is it the egg whites?" I asked. "Nah, those aren't white..."
Juanita was answerless.
Then a security guard approached me.
"Something's leaking," he said.
"The soy milk?" I asked.
"I don't know, man. What about those egg whites?"
"The liquid is white," I said, innocuously.
"What?" he asked, his face stiffening, his eyes widening as if I had insulted him.
"It's white," I said. "Aren't egg whites clearish?"
"Of course, its white," he said. "My mistake. Clearly I don't know what's white and what's not."
To which I responded with a plain gaze and honest confusion. Was this seemingly helpful security guard adding racial undertones to a question of what was leaking onto my figs? I didn't want to entertain such an idea.
"That's obviously not what I'm saying," I said.
"Then what are you saying?" he asked aggressively.
"I'm saying soy milk is white, and the only liquid on this counter right now that's white is my soy milk. That's what's got to be leaking."
"You should know," he said. (May I even ask why, at this juncture, a security guard was checking up on my spilt milk?)
"Right, uh...huh. So... can I go replace it, and you just watch my spot for a sec?" I asked, wanting to get the hell out of there.
"Sure, man. Go replace that white milk. Get yourself one of those leak-free ones. Wouldn't wanna have white milk leakin' all over your all your fancy food."
"Thanks," I said.
Then I replaced my milk, and upon my return, noticed he had left. Relief.
Juanita simply raised her brows when I looked to her for some sort of silent explanation.
"Milk is white," she said. "I don't know what he was talking."
"Me neither," I said. "Have a good weekend, ok?"
"You too, Mr. Adam. Happy Father's Day."
Wow, I thought, wheeling my cart out to the parking lot. Someone thinks I'd actually already brought a child into this endlessly exciting world.