Monday, November 10, 2014

Advice For Myself: Don't Go To The Farmers Market In The Rain

I like to think of myself as really committed to the farmers market. A rain or shine farmers market person. A person who shops there when everyone else goes and who shops there when everyone else stay home. Dedicated to a farmers market lifestyle.

This is how I like to define myself in relation to outdoor, locavore, farmer supporting, fresh produce enjoying and seasonal shopping.

What I had to admit, face, and accept is that I am in fact not this person.

I can shop at the farmers market on a very hot, sunny day. I can shop at the farmers market when it is snowing. I can shop there in the aftermath of a blizzard. Of course I can shop there when it is perfect, stunning weather.

I need to make adjustments. Obviously, when it's cold or snowing, I dress for the job. I'm from Syracuse. I know how to do this.  The day after a blizzard, I need to carefully map out my route to and from the market in case the plows haven't been around yet, or the sidewalks are dicey. You'd think the days that are universally enjoyed would be a no brainer. But those need accommodation too. I need to be patient about long lines, crowds, people chit chatting with oversized strollers in the middle of thoroughfares. Going very early can help with this challenge.

I thought I could make adjustments to the rain. I already knew I didn't have enough limbs to carry an umbrella. For that I would need a third hand.

So I'd get out one of the many rain ponchos our family has collected over the last few years due one kid or another going on a nature adventure, science enrichment hike, peer bonding trip, sleep away camp or academic reward trip in the rain. I'd dress warmly under the poncho and wear rain boots.

I'm not going to dwell on the difficulties associated with fishing money out from under my soaking poncho, rain clouding my glasses, people wanting to have long conversations about seafood with the fish guy even though it's pouring and I already know I want a pound of flounder.

These things happened every time it rained and I still kept on going.

What happened the last time I went to the farmers market in the rain was the final straw. I'm am writing about this so that I don't forget about it and go there again in a downpour.

I was standing on line at Bread Alone. Buying bread outdoors during a driving rain is tricky. I'd prepared by packing extra plastic bags to wrap the breads in. People who sell bread never have plastic bags.

What I hadn't prepared for was what happened when I squeezed under the small awning that the Bread Alone people put up. I'm standing there minding my own business. That's when all of the water that pooled on top of the awning became too heavy for it. The awning gave way and dumped a large amount of cold water all over my person.

Rain ponchos were not designed to deal with this onslaught. I would have needed to wear the poncho and a wet suit underneath.

This was like an Ice Bucket Challenge with a few key differences. Fortunately, there was no actual ice in the rain water. There was a large amount of water. An entire bucket full of water.

Unlike the Ice Bucket Challenge, this was an unsolicited, unexpected experience. The spontaneity of this experience meant that many expletives were shouted initially and then muttered more quietly after the fact.

Finally, this differed from the Ice Bucket Challenge in that it was completely meaningless. My experience at Bread Alone was not videotaped and shared virally on Facebook. I did not collect money that was then used to fund ALS research. I really should have had Noah videotape the soggy aftermath of what happened, then use this unfortunate experience to collect funds for ALS. I could have also hit people up for money right at the farmers market. At the very least, Bread Alone should feel an obligation to kick something in. But unfortunately, I didn't think of these enterprising ideas until later.

For every story, there is the long version and the short version. I just told you the long version. I'll end with the short version. I'm not shopping at the farmers market in the rain ever again. That's the long and the short of it.

Advice for Myself is a new series I am working on to remind myself of things I learn and then forget. I am hoping that collage and writing will help me remember some important lessons I've gained through life experience. Maybe it will help you too.

You can read my first piece of advice for myself here.

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