Saturday, November 22, 2008

Why We Need To Get Out of Outer Podunk

Fellow Traveler visited the local UPS store yesterday to mail our homemade salsa and our household stash of Dona Maria mole' to Semi-Daughter-in-Law in Brooklyn for our Thanksgiving Day feast.

The store owner picked up a jar of mole' and examined it critically. "What's this 'mole' stuff?" she asked, with some disapproval. "Why would you want to eat that? Is it, like, gravy for rats? Because when I think 'mole' I think rats and mice."

FT attempted humor: "Well, we are sending it to New York -- lots of rats there."

UPS Woman didn't get it.

So FT patiently explained what mole' was.

"Well, why would you be sending that?"

FT patiently explained our Thanksgiving dinner plans.

"Why don't you just have turkey for Thanksgiving, like Sarah Palin? Wasn't that a cute video of her pardoning the turkey? You know, people just don't give Sarah a chance." (Actual quote.)

FT, after squelching the urge to vomit all over the counter, patiently explained that, first of all, everyone in our extended family likes Mexican food, and that, secondly, when feeding a bunch of people in a borrowed galley kitchen without several days' preparation, Mexican food is a lot easier to cook and assemble.

"Well, we had a Mexican at our house once, and he ate American food." (Actual quote.)

The woman went on to express her general distaste for Mexican food. "It's all the same. That's why that Mexican restaurant down the street went out of business. No one here likes Mexican food."

FT patiently explained that Mexican cuisine is actually very regionally diverse; and that the restaurant down the street closed, not because the food was Mexican but because the food was bad, and overpriced.

Did I mention that FT was here simply to mail a package?

UPS Woman redirected her attention to our homemade salsa. "What's that?"

"It's homemade salsa."

"Well, it doesn't look like [local supermarket chain's] salsa." (Actual quote.)

This went on for several more minutes, before FT's inquisitor finally finished packaging and processing our package.

This is the kind of interrogation I go through every day that I bring my own lunch to work ("Oooh...what's that?" "Um -- curry." "Eeeeuw...I don't think I'd like that...") It's why we need to get out of Outer Podunk -- this week definitely, but eventually forever. It's not just the ignorance, but the wilful, arrogant embrace of ignorant, small-minded hickdom around here, that drives us both fruitbat crazy.


ProclaimingSoftly (PSanafter-thought) said...

I really can't imagine people being that rude, outter podunk or not. Ignorant I can imagine. But so ignorant AND rude that you show your ignorance, yikes. Have you ever thought about if you can't lick them, join them?

Of course, I'm the one who bought the humus only to have my sister say, "why would anyone eat that?" I bit my lip, but thought, "the same reason any one eats steak, chocolate cake, etc." Now sis is addicted to black olive hummus because she snitched mine.

OTOH, my son has been complaining that his housemates eat his food without so much as a twinge of conscience. He goes to the fridg and his cooked food is half gone! The same thing was happening where he used to work so he started doing stuff like drinking right out of his milk carton in front of the other lunch people.

Choralgirl said...

Hoo boy. That must be exhausting.

cheesehead said...

Okay. I'll stop complaining about Pretentious Village now. At least our postal workers aren't chatty and sometimes I'm the only pasty-faced gringa at our Mexican restaurant. (That's my measure; if I'm the palest person there, it's probably good.)

Auntie Knickers said...

Oh golly. You could actually have turkey mole....
Come to Midcoast Maine! Although Onkel Hankie Pants has heard some weird things from his coworkers on third shift in Iconic Maine Business's warehouse, we have a Mexican organic local food restaurant around the corner, 2 Indian restaurants, various bistros, natural food store, farmers' markets, etc. etc. etc. and fresh seafood (which is sadly very cheap right now). And we've also got lots of nice trees and so on, just like Michigan. My verification word is "loadmad" which might be what your local UPS lady does each day?

toujoursdan said...

I know the feeling. That is why I left Texas in 2004.

zorra said...

Oh, Lord. You can either laugh, or cry. But eventually the laughs get harder and harder to muster.

Re: the food, move some place where you have the nice experience we do...that people are envious of what we bring for lunch!

Anonymous said...

You have quite the chip on your shoulder, and you seem to be quite fond of it.
I'm just not feeling the Christian love.

LutheranChik said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LutheranChik said...

Anonymous: For someone who seems to have a call to provide me with spiritual direction, your drive-by sniping would seem to be a curious way of delivering service.

I think that Christian love can and does live side by side with honest irritation at wilful mulletheadedness.

Anonymous said...

I can understand your irritation a little, but the whole thing does sound a trifle humorous. Just remember that anywhere you may go, "peoples is peoples"-- a favorite quote from Muppets Take Manhattan. That is, you have to take people the way you find them. But I do have to agree that you seem to have a bit of a chip on your shoulder (which generally goes good with salsa though... ;)) Really, just try and find the humour in hometown life, for as proverbs says, "a cheerful heart has a continual feast".

lynda s. said...

i stumbled upon your blog because i google "the ups store" at work. yes, it's hard being a Christian when non-Christians are so judgmental on what they THINK being a Christian is, isn't it? My worst critics are those who expect me to somehow not be human... yet allow themselves all kinds of leeway in their critique of me.. maybe that's the cross we bear in modern society. but at least people are reading your blog. so where do you live? I'd like to also avoid it.
presbyterian girl from florida.

gypsytoo said...

Two winters ago we spent some time in Texas. Near San Antonio we met this lady at the laundromat who was so upset! She hailed from Lansing, Michigan and was relieved to be in San Antonio. She said they had spent a week down on the Rio Grand - near Mission, Texas and was just so relieved to be out of there. Americans should be speaking English she said.

I just shakes my head in wonder.

will ignorance ever be erradicated?

Mary Beth said...

Still in Texas, and horrified. Of course, I live in the CITY. Or a good size town, anyway.

I'd be tempted to smile sweetly and give the Dear Abby response: "Why would you say such a rude thing?"

Ringelstruempfe said...

I am not sure if I want to laugh or cry after reading this. Maybe both!

At least, I have to say this: UPS woman is right: people didn't give Sarah a chance! Thank God for that!