Monthly Archives: June 2011

Endive: A Nutritional Powerhouse

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This is a blog I did for work several months ago. The blog was for California Endive, an Endive distributor based out of California. I figured it would go well in my “Apple a Day…” section. 

 

Crisp and unique with a slightly bitter taste, endive (pronounced “on-deev“) has been cultivated for medicinal purposes since the ancients documented its use 5000 years ago. A member of the chicory family, it is referenced in the infamous Ebers Papyrus (1550, BCE), and praised in the writings of Horace, Ovid, Virgil, Galenus and Pliny. It was rediscovered in the mid-to-late nineteenth century in Belgium, and has since traveled to France (where it is referred to fondly as “White Gold”,) and North America.

Bursting with important minerals like calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, folate, zinc, magnesium and fiber, endive can be used in all-natural cleansers for your liver and gall bladder. Among typical salad greenery, it is the richest source of vitamin A. As a result, endive is an excellent source of beta-carotene (an important antioxidant that boosts your immune system). In fact, by eating endive or drinking endive juice (especially when mixed with carrots, parsley and spinach), you can improve and sometimes even reverse degenerating eye problems such as cataracts and glaucoma.

Endive is also an excellent source of vitamins C and B. Regular consumption of endive can lower your risk of heart disease and cancers of the rectum, bladder and melanoma. Because of the complex fibers cellulose and hemicellulose, endive can help regulate your digestive tract and prevent the absorption of cholesterol and balance blood sugar levels. Endive is also low in fat and sodium and has no cholesterol. One head of endive delivers over 50% of the potassium found in a banana.

Naturally crisp and slightly bitter, endive can be boiled, braised, put in coffee or served fresh in salads. By pairing endive with other juices, you can actually prevent and even reverse many illnesses and other, less serious malodies, such as acne. By mixing endive juice with celery and carrots, asthmatics can significantly reduce their susceptibility for asthma attacks. Anemia can be tempered by mixing endive with celery and parsley. It’s helpful in weight loss. Endive provides a whimsical, curly flair to any salad. Its delightfully crisp texture and slightly bitter taste pair well with other mixed greens and vegetables,

Visit http://endive.com/healthy-eating for nutritional facts about California Endive. For delicious recipes, visit: http://endive.com/recipes.

The Great Divide and the Coffee Industry

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This is a paper I wrote for my Ethnobotony class in college. The paper was basically a report on “Black Gold”: A Documentary on the Economic Gap Between Ethiopian Co-ops, Coffee Farmers and Large-Scale Multinationals. Most of the research was strictly from the movie (that was the prompt, although a decent amount of it came from other sources because, well, I can’t help myself) Admittedly, I wrote this a while ago…but I felt like posting it anyway because it’s an important aspect of our commercial lives that our society likes to shut out. If you haven’t watched “Black Gold” yet, I sincerely recommend it. You’ll never look at western consumerism the same again.

The American dream has expanded. In addition to the white picket fence, two cars in every driveway, and a 401k in every retirement plan, we have now added to the mix. A part of the ideal existence is the obsessive infatuation with personalizing everything. We personalize the colors of our laptops and ultra thin cameras. We personalize our cars, our cell phones, and our décor. Now, with the advent of having a Starbucks “on every corner,” the personalized latte has taken hold in our society. We spend our lives rushing around at the crack of dawn in order to get to the first café where we can personalize our cup of one of the last legal drugs. In cities like New York, Seattle and London, people have developed an addiction to coffee. According to an Italian barista, “Coffee is the first thing for Italians in the morning—without it we are all miserable”

In fact, aside from petroleum, coffee is the most heavily traded commodity in the world. But, while sipping our frozen coffees while we read the latest issue of some innocuous magazine, the origins of that beverage are often far from our minds. We know that we’re paying between $3 and $5 to add whipped cream and substitute soymilk, so we assume that the coffee market is doing just fine. And it is. Last year, the global market (including all of the middlemen involved in getting that coffee into your Styrofoam cup) reached an unprecedented $140 billion. This does not, however, mean that the market is a fair one.

The International Coffee Agreement (ICA) was a Cold War mechanism designed to maintain stable coffee prices. The idea was to avoid social turmoil that many feared communists might exploit. The Agreement worked between 1975 and 1989. Even though prices still fluctuated, they never fell below the minimum price established by the ICA ($1.20/pound).[1]  At the end of the Cold War, the US abandoned the ICA.[2] This sparked the Agreement’s collapse and, as a result, coffee prices fell drastically. During most of the nineties, coffee prices remained low—usually below the cost of production—and in the last ten years, the price has hit an all-time low.

If you look at the facts, demonstrated in the Sundance Film Documentary, Black Gold, we can see that the cause for this is not a lack of demand. The year after the ICA collapsed; coffee was a $30 billion market. Since then, it has soared up past $80 billion. Globally, an estimated more than 2 million cups of coffee are drank a day. However, the individual co-operatives are not given accurate, up-to-date information on prices, and so they are being taken advantage of.

This is a significant problem for coffee co-operatives and their respective farmers in Ethiopia, which is Africa’s number one producer of coffee. 67% of Ethiopia’s gross domestic product is centered around the coffee industry, so when prices are low, they affect every aspect of the country’s economic infrastructure.

Tadesse Meskela manages the Oromia Coffee Farmers Co-operative Union, representing over 74,000 coffee farmers. Tadesse’s farmers union buys coffee from 101 individual co-operatives spread across southern Ethiopia. According to Meskela, for every Kilo of coffee harvested, bagged and shipped, approximately 80 cups of coffee are brewed. A cup of coffee in the western world costs approximately $2.90. If you multiply that by the 80 cups of coffee each Kilo produces, the amount the multinationals are making off of each Kilo is approximately $232.

When Meskela took the camera crew of Black Gold into the Kilenso Mokonisa co-operative, the difference between today’s market and the farmers’ understanding of that market was made glaringly apparent. He asked how much they thought a cup of coffee costs in the Western World. None of the farmers had any idea what the going price for their product was. Where they live, in Hagere Maram, the price for a cup of coffee is one birr, which translates to $0.12. When told that, in western societies, coffee goes for 25 birr, they were enraged because, for every Kilo of coffee they sell, they are receiving 2 birr while the corporations are turning around and selling that same amount of coffee for 2,000 birr.  It is the private traders who have gotten fat, leaving hard working, impoverished farmers with nothing.  “Our problem is when our coffee ripens and is ready for sale, a man comes to our farm and says to us, ‘I will take your coffee and pay you 0.75 birr ($0.08) for a kilo.’ There’s no negotiation, one person decides to buy our coffee at 0.75 birr ($0.08). We have no up-to-date price information, and one person controls the market. When our coffee is ready, please take it at the right market price.”

The market is controlled by four multinationals: Nestle, Procter and Gamble, Sara Lee, and Kraft Foods. They keep offices in Addis Ababa, where Ethiopia’s Government Coffee Auction takes place. There, coffee collectors and coffee exporters bid on coffee. Their prices are based off of the international coffee price—established at a centralized market in New York City and London. If the price is down by five cents in NYC and London, then those bidding on the coffee will buy it for five cents less in Ethiopia. While this may sound appropriate on the surface, it is important to acknowledge the enormous discrepancy between what those multinationals are making versus what the Co-operatives are making and—even further—what the farmers that are members of said co-ops are making. “It is said ‘coffee is gold,’ and on the radio, they’re always talking about coffee, coffee…we listen to it, but gain nothing,” says one of the farmers from the Kilenso Mokonisa co-operative.

The prices are affecting all of the people in the coffee industry. In the farmers’ corner of the market, things are, by all stretches, difficult. It takes 4 years for coffee trees to grow to their full size and an extra year on top of that before they are able to produce proper beans. They toil all day in the dirt without shoes because their side of the market is down.

After the coffee has been harvested, it goes to sweatshops to be sorted. A cup of coffee usually consists of approximately 50 beans. Every bean must be perfect because if it isn’t, it’ll throw off the aroma and flavor, thus decreasing the blend’s quality. In order to ensure that the quality of each shipment is kept up to par, every single bean must be examined by hand and sorted at the Coffee Export Processing Center in Addis Ababa. Women perform this task for 4 birr (less than $0.50) a day even though they are working full 8-hour shifts.

On top of that, overall employment is down. If the prices were even a little higher, all of the machinists could be full engaged at the co-operatives’ processing plant. The prices, however, are too low and so there aren’t a lot of people working at the plants.

Burte Arba, a coffee farmer from Yirgacheffe, says that, “since the price of coffee has fallen drastically, I have not been getting a fair reward for my years of work. We would soar high above the sky if we got 5 birr ($0.57) for a kilo of coffee. Forget 20 or 10 birr. I say 5 birr would change our lives beyond recognition.”

Alemayhu Abrahim, an Ethiopian school principal, agrees. “The economy of the community is based on coffee production—nothing else. Since the fall of the coffee price, people are not able to survive and the community as a whole does not have any money to help with the development of the school. For as long as the coffee price goes up and down, the school will continue to be affected in very many ways. We can’t even afford to buy blackboards and I doubt if we can pay the salary of our teachers in the near future.”

Once the coffee is bought from the Government Coffee Auction, the coffee buyers upload the coffee from the warehouse. They process it and sell it to their buyers abroad. From there, the buyer distributes the coffee to roasters. The roasters roast the coffee and sell it to the retailers and cafés. By the time the coffee reaches the consumer, it has been through six different links of a middlemen-infested chain. Meskela wants to eliminate 60% of the middlemen that stand in the way of allowing farmers to benefit fairly from their hard work. “Our main aim is to bring more money into the coffee growers pocket…to improve the farmers’ life… I don’t mean ‘better life’ as in having a car, having electricity or a motorbike…at least to feed his family with nutritious food, to have clean water and to have clean clothes, and send his children to school.” Meskela’s union is “ready to look for a better market…to sell the coffee for a better price and return to you [the farmers] the profit.” In return, Meskela is asking the farmers to make sure the coffee is washed properly for their co-operative. They all applauded in response.

Kara the Snowflake, Part 2

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I want to be a badass.

Seriously. I would love nothing more than to be an extreme sports fanatic who rocks out on guitar and fearlessly treks into the unknown for funzies. So fervent is my desire to be a pint-sized badass that I recently decided to check something moderately extreme off of my proverbial bucket list. I decided to go snowboarding.

I know, I know—snowboarding really isn’t that crazy. In fact, the idea that at 24 years old I’ve yet to attempt such an endeavor would probably surprise some of my readers.

My reasoning is simple. I was born and raised in a small beach town located along the Gulf of Mexico called Port Charlotte, Florida. Not a lot of snowboarding opportunities there.

In fact, Port Charlotte, due to its geographical location doesn’t even have a lot of surfing opportunities.  My town lies along the southwestern part of the state where the oceanic planes are relatively inactive compared to the east coast. Our waves, therefore, are smaller. Instead of surfing, we like to skim board.

I’m going to scratch that one out—I love to skim board. After high school, I spent 5 hours a day out on my board (named Clover because it’s green…yeah, I’m one of those people. My car’s name is Ugly Betty, but we’ll get into that some other time.) Skim boarding not only allows me to play Jesus and essentially glide across the water (or dance, if I’m doing 360’s), but it is one of the few sports in the world where my size happens to be an advantage. I’m 4’10” and about 100 pounds. I have a nice fiberglass board and, because of said lack of height, I am able to balance on it easier. This, believe it or not, actually does all come into play.

This past Christmas, my friend Rob’s parents decided to buy us plane tickets to visit them in Ohio. Knowing how much I love skim boarding, Rob’s mother decided that she was going to take me snowboarding the day after Christmas.

Sweeet!!!

We all know how realistic I am when I’m excited about something, right?

Yet again, I imagined I would be an instant prodigy. On our way there, I pictured myself zipping through the snowcaps like a mini female version of Shawn White. I imagined myself doing tricks in the air and wowing all of the uppity northerners with my tan and awesome snow-skills.

I guess somewhere in amongst my fantasizing I managed to forget that my first three years of skim boarding were spent bruised up, cut up and limping.

So to give you the proper picture of just how tragic this was, I’m going to start off by saying that we had to make a little shopping trip before we got going. I own three bikinis, a wet suit and god-knows how many pairs of board shorts. I do not own snow pants, gloves, scarves or snow-sport jackets.

So Kim (Rob’s mom), Rob and I stopped at a couple of stores to get everything we needed. I bought myself a pair of black and white snowboarding pants (which I found in the little boys’ section), a pair of white and black waterproof winter sports gloves, a pair of white sporty sunglasses, a beanie and a beautiful white and black snowboarding jacket. You know…for all of the winter sports I so obviously participate in on a daily.

By the time I was done, I looked like a sponsored pro.

We get to the snowboarding place. It’s the day after Christmas. The place is brimming with people. All of these people have at least seen a snowboard before. This is not particularly unusual for them—many of them brought their own gear and, because they are used to temperatures below 70, a lot of them aren’t even dressed in much more than a sweater and jeans.

Dressed in all-white matching gear, I look like a professional snowboarder who is trying to adapt to my surroundings for fear of a yeti attack.

We go to rent our gear. It is at this point that Kim tries to convince me for the hundredth time to rent skis instead of a snowboard. “It’s easier—you’ll be able to use both feet.”

“Thanks, Kim, but I think I’ll be alright on the board. I’m used to boards—I’m a skim boarder,” I say with the proud naivety of any half-retarded beach bum. Kim shrugged and smiled and rented her own skis.

Rob, eyeing the blinding effect of my white snow gear, made sure they handed me a white snowboard. My ensemble was complete.

We get down to the lift and take pictures of ourselves in our gear and with our boards and immediately post them onto facebook (yay, smartphones). Feeling like I fit the part, I am immediately impressed with myself.

Rob shows me how to lock my snowboarding boots into the board. Cool, I think, glad that I finally understand what Eddie Izzard was talking about in Dressed to Kill when he said, “You can’t help but look cool because you’re nailed to a $#@!ing plank of wood.”

We get to the ski lift of the smallest looking hill. This is my first ski lift. I’m bobbing up and down, shaking Rob with utter glee. He tells me to get ready to push off of the lift when the board hits the ice.

“Okay, got it!” I say, cheery and thoroughly pleased with everything that’s going on.

Our boards hit the ice.

I face plant.

I chuckle and dust off all of the snow. Rob and I shimmy up to where Kim is waiting on the slope. I look down. Suddenly this slope doesn’t seem quite so small anymore.

I cried out and gripped Rob’s jacket. He shook me off, told me to relax and tried to explain that I was to shift right and then left over and over all the way down the hill.

Uh…okay.

So I kick off and bend my knees the way I would when I’m skimming. I start going like sixty miles and hour and freak out. I fall down and slide into a patch of snow along the right side of the slope.

Rob picks me up and dusts me off. I try again.

“Okay, now turn left—turn left!!”

Here’s the problem with turning left. I am a skim boarder. If I want to turn left into, say, the curve of a wave, I simply twist my body and both body and board obey me. They turn left and we all get along.

Snowboarding doesn’t work that way—especially if you hit a patch of ice.

“Turn left! Turn left!”

“I’m turning! I’m turning!!” I and the plank of wood I was nailed to shot straight to the right and through the plastic barricades. I covered my eyes as I hit another patch of ice and shot further down until I landed in a pile of pillowy not-so-softness.

I opened my eyes. I was underneath the ski lift, staring up at the chuckling northerners. “I’m a skim boarder!!” I cried out for no apparent reason. I shuffle myself up to a seating position and look around for Rob. I find him laughing his ass off (completely upright, mind you) looking at me from where I sliced through the fencing.

“I told you to turn!”

“I was turning!”

“Well, apparently not!” He laughed some more. “Alright, unlock one of your feet and come over here—this is the only way down.”

Realizing he is right, I try to kick off the snowboard. I have no idea how to release myself of this thing. I fight with it for about a minute and a half before realizing that there is a little lever thing you have to push in order to free yourself.

Finally able to hobble over to where my ever-supportive cohort is waiting, I do my best to listen to him explain the turning technique. Apparently, you lean forward and backward to turn in either direction. Rob likens it to skateboarding. Had I been cool enough to try skateboarding as a child, this might have helped me. As it happens, I did not try skateboarding. Not once.

I fall again, but this time I manage to miss the fence. Rob gives up on me and says he’s going to be on the Black Diamond (the highest cliff-like-slope they have…I prefer to think of it as “Black Death”.)

I tried again. I started to gain a bit of balance only to fall once I realized, *gasp,* that snow and ice are slippery. I fell flat on my butt. I got up and tried it again. I fell on my left wrist.

I begin to curse. Children that are all of eight years old are now whizzing past me at ungodly speeds. I begin to curse them.

About ¼ of the way down the hill, I realize that there is a smaller beginners’ hill off to my far right. This hill does not even require a ski lift. Stupid Robby. Coming to the conclusion that I am way out of my league, I decide that my best bet is to swallow my pride and just crabwalk down the hill.

Yeah. I crabwalked down a snow slope with one leg still nailed in to a snowboard.

The whole time I was muttering slight variances of the following: “This. Sucks. Ass. Snow. Sucks. Ass. Snow. Bruises. Ass.”

Eventually, I made it down to the last five feet of slope. I looked around and–ever-so-nonchalantly–pushed myself back up onto the snowboard and slid down as if I’d been upright the whole time. Of course, that’s when I realized I couldn’t break. I nearly took out the knees of some child walking by before I managed to kick the board out and land on my butt (again.)

So then I decide that I should take one of the snowboarding lessons. They started us up at the very bottom of the hill. Wouldn’t you know it—but I actually didn’t do too bad in the class. Here is photographic evidence of the fact that I did not suck the whole time:

look!! upright!!

I decide to go in for some hot chocolate before heading out to the bunny hill (which is what they call the beginners’ slope). It was during that fifteen minutes of warm chocolaty bliss that I forgot the whole damn lesson.

Me drinking hot chocolate instead of practicing what I'd learned

Stupidly courageous, I march on up that bunny hill and set out to really get the hang of this whole snowboarding thing.

I guess I didn’t realize that the bunny hill still had at least some slope to it.

I flipped backwards into an airborne summersault and landed directly on my left arm and tailbone.

I was done for the day. I found Kim—whose flailing attempts at controlling her skis resulted in her taking out two young children on the way down the first hill—and bought her a beer. We then watched as Rob, a completely accident-prone spaz in any other instance in life, cleared the Black Diamond like he’d done it his whole life…which is weird because Rob is another one of those rare native Floridians.

Oh well—at least I looked cool doing it—and now I have a spiffy matching set of a jacket, gloves and pants for next time 🙂

The Child at Table 13

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A question for the masses: Is it healthy to seriously consider inflicting bodily harm on the inept breeders of unruly children?

I say breeders because that is what they are. I like to adhere to some level of accuracy when I complain about things. It gives me the illusion that I’m practicing honest journalism. If I were to call them parents I would be doing the actual parenting world an injustice because, in my book, parenting requires actually raising a kid. It’s cultivating a life. My parents were actual parents. My best friend (the mother of my godson) is a parent. My gay uncle and his fiancé would make wonderful parents.

 These people were not parents. These were breeders—and I would like to take this time to explain why.

So I’m finishing up cleaning my tables at the restaurant last night when my friend Kat comes over to me and tells me that my side-work is to clean the head-wait tables. Just to clarify for those of you who have managed to evade the restaurant business altogether: a head-wait is the person assigned to do the bookkeeping for the night. This is the person who counts out all of the money, divvies up the tip-share for the buss-boys, bartenders, hostesses, etc. and makes sure the numbers all add up. For a restaurant as big as the one I work in, this takes a lot of time. It is for that reason that, on a Friday or Saturday night, the head-wait is given a get-out-of-cleaning free pass. Someone else merely takes over. Last night it was me.

Not too much of a big deal—you sanitize the tables and wash them off with hot water. You roll some silverware and you clean off the booths and the wooden areas and you refill the oil decanters. Takes like five minutes.

So I mosey on over to Mary’s section. (Mary had booth number 14, booth number 15 and table number 25.)

I start to clean. Somewhere in my peripheral vision I see that there is a tiny shadow looming over me. I ignore it. At this point in the night I am tired and I am hungry and I do not feel the need to pay any attention to anything that is not directly Kara-related. It doesn’t concern me. The most attention I paid this little shadow is that I noticed it was squeaking and pointing at my head.

I clean the cushions of the first booth and flip them down under the table so that when Kat checks me all she has to do is look to see that I have, in fact, rid it of anything cockroach-friendly or sticky. I move on to the second cushion. I hear some trinket or other drop down onto the exposed wood of the seat I’ve just cleaned. The shadow thing squeals in anguish.

I look up to see the distressed eyes of a soon-to-be morbidly obese toddler down at me from the top of the booth. Its parents, of course, are deeply engrossed in their conversation and have yet to notice that it is upset. I take pity on it. I get up from what I am doing and walk around the booth to the other side. Aww, I think, it dropped it’s crayon. “Here, buddy, I’ll get that for you.”

I then proceed to pick up the crayon and put it down in front of the toddler-thing.

I turn to go back to what I am doing.

I here a little thump much like the last one. Another squeal. The toddler-thing has thrown his crayon back down onto the seat. Now I don’t care.

It starts to scream indiscernible babble at me and points at its crayon. Psh. My little sister had colic when she was a baby. Scream your head off. I’m immune.

I start to hear something else: the scraping of little kreaton shoes on wood. I look up again. The toddler thing is now heaving its larger-than-healthy body up over the back of the booth. He has decided to take matters into his own hands. He wants his damn crayon.

At this point, I move the coffee cup of hot water (that I’m using to clean said booth) over to the other side where he can’t knock it over and burn his little chubby arms. I’m a jerk. I’m not cruel.

I also handed the little twerp his crayon.

Then I hear something else.

It is the parents’ friends. They start laughing because, and I quote, “hahaha! She’s babysitting your kid!!”

My eye twitched. Babysitting?! I have not babysat since I was twelve years old. My relatives quickly realized that I am not psychologically sound enough to deal with their little kids. I am not babysitting anything.

To take a stand, I swear to myself that I will not help this child one more time.

“She’s not babysitting,” the father laughs, “They’re flirting. Ask for her number! Ask if she has a boyfriend!”

It is then that I realize that the father is not with a wifey thing. I decide that, despite my current single-dom, I am officially in a relationship for as long as he is in the restaurant. I go about my business.

More scraping of light-up tot-shoes against more wood. Now the sound is traveling. I look up and nearly drop the oil decanter in my hand.

Realizing that I am not going to respond to his antics, the father has returned to his conversation and allowed his crayon-flinging creature to run amuck. I am not in favor of child leashes…except in this one very specific case.

The kid has cleared the high-backed booth and is now dancing around on the wooden seat I’ve just cleaned, throwing more crayons in every-which-direction. I just stood there in a stupor. He climbs up on top of the table I’ve just sanitized and runs across it to the other side of the booth: on the back of which sits that coffee cup of hot water I’d moved out of his way.

“No!” I shout, dashing over to his reaching chubby little hand. “No, sweetie, that’s hot! You don’t want it, trust me.”

More laughter from dad-of-the-year. I grumble and take my hot water over to another table, out of this little doomed creature’s grasp.

“Come on, buddy, ask for her number! Tell her you like her pretty face and her smile!”

I’m going to splash hot water into your pretty face…

So I grab my friend Brian and pull him over to the other side of the restaurant. Brian—a sassy gay man who thinks this is hilarious—listens to me rant about how I am going to gleefully dropkick this so-called “parent” if he doesn’t control his animal. Brian, another friend (Mark) and another friend who is about to try for a baby of his own with his wife (Vega) all chuckle and tell me that they will help hold him down if I want to take a punch.

See, this is my problem. I am encouraged. I need friends that are going to tell me No, Kara…be a good person. But instead everyone just let’s me be a crazy person. I think it is because I’m the size of a third-grader.

So I wander over there and replace the oil decanters. I look up. The wild-child has sat himself down at the table I’d cleaned and has begun amusing himself with the table tent that shows off the quarter’s specials.

He’s taken the whole thing apart. I watch as he uses the various pieces as blocks. He actually begins to build something that resembles a house of cards. He makes an archway. He builds from that. He creates a wall branching out from the archway and looks for other things on the table to support it with.

This kid is like two. He’s not even talking yet. I felt my typically cold heart melt. Oh my god, I think to myself, he’s a little architect!!  Just like my dad!!

I then begin to feel terrible for him. There’s a brain working inside that little head of his—and with the right amount of guidance and discipline, this child could actually go on to build skyscrapers and strip malls (or, in the more preferable case, something beautiful like the buildings of Frank Loyde Wright!!) But, instead, he has a father who has brought him to a restaurant at 12 o’clock at night instead of putting him to bed. This father is not paying any attention to what he is doing—he is not telling him to stop or at least building table-tent buildings with him at the table. This father is using him as an excuse to talk to disgruntled girls and otherwise allowing him to fend for himself.

Now I really wanted to punch him.

That moment, before all of you start getting the wrong impression about me, quickly dissipated. The table-tent structure collapsed and the toddler thing let out an ear-splitting scream that could wake the dead.

Annnnd I no longer care.

I marched to the back, handed Mary my check-out, and began to make my way through the restaurant. On their way out the door, the man says “hey, thanks for watching him when he was over there.”

I raised my eyebrows, silently nodded, and walked away before I allowed myself to make the decision to follow him out into the parking lot with a blunt object.

Instead, I decided to blog about it.