Thursday, May 22, 2008

Paper or Plastic, and Other Tough Decisions

Stellan and I recently returned from a shopping expedition to Trader Joe's. At the onset of what I hoped would be a quick trip (it's never as fast as you think it'll be), we cruised by the Indian food section and picked up a few boxes of Trader Joe's Indian Fare. If you're not familiar with it, you should be. Inside each box is a packet of yummy Indian food which you pop into some boiling water (while still in the packet) for 5 minutes, then serve. Great as a side with many meals, or just serve it with naan or tortillas for something quick and easy.
As I was loading several of my favorite varieties into the cart, a gentleman passing by said, "Into healthy choices, huh?" He said this in a pretty sarcastic tone and with raised eyebrows, which surprised me; he was older (grandpa age - my grandpa, not Stellan's) and most people in this demographic that I see at TJ's only comment about my cute baby, if they say anything at all. I was taken aback by this remark, and realized I had several choices in my response:

A) I could look at him with exasperation, barely control the urge to raise my voice and say something like this - "Excuse me, but my son has been screaming at me almost nonstop for two hours; I'm doing my best to get in and out quickly while purchasing the food that my family will eat. You have no idea what the rest of my grocery list looks like, and I really resent the judgment you seem to find so easy to pass. If buying this box of Indian Fare means that my husband will eat it instead of popcorn for dinner tonight while I'm at work - yes, I work full-time and take care of this cranky child - then I am more than happy to do it. If you'd like to come over and try to cook something healthier for us, you go right ahead. You can find our house by the sound of the teething baby not quite drowned out by the NBA playoffs."

B) I could take a moment and reflect on the nutritional choices I make for myself. Obviously the Indian Fare isn't for Stellan; he will be having the rice cakes, frozen fruit and yogurt I bought later on the expedition. I go to some trouble to ensure that my baby eats a healthy and balanced diet. I puree a variety of fresh (and sometimes frozen) vegetables and keep big batches of them in the freezer; I feed him unsweetened applesauce and salt-free rice cakes; his bagels are whole-wheat; and he gets the best part of any piece of chicken I'm eating. But maybe I should take the time to feed myself food that nutritious. I'm somebody's child too, and I'm sure my mom would be grateful if I dedicated some of my time to taking care the body she so carefully fed and maintained for all those years. Maybe it's time to reconsider that Indian Fare and substitute it with what I would be feeding Stellan if he ate grown-up food.

C) I could give him my best "I can be polite even if you're crazy" smile. (You may have seen this look if you've been around me when someone finds out I'm an astronomer and asks me to read their palm or tell them about their horoscope for tomorrow.) Then I could simply respond, "We're all just doing the best we can."

D) I could stare at him blankly for a second and pretend I don't speak English.

What would you say? Any bets on the response I gave?

8 comments:

D said...

You are picking out a meal of Chickpeas and he's telling you you're not healthy? He definitely didn't deserve the polite smile. I hope you told him off. :) It's not like you were loading your cart with fruit snacks, hot dogs, and chicken nuggets like I do. You are doing pretty dang good if that's the kind of fast food you are choosing(the chick pea kind with no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives).

Jess said...

I hope that you pretended not to speak English, because I think that would have been the most fun (especially from my huera[spelling?] mamacita). I think that in my current sleep-deprived state of mind, I would have instinctively taken route A and then felt a little bad later. Choice B does have some merit too, but it is so much more introspective, and therefore difficult, than the others.

Jess said...

You probably chose C, curse you're niceness.

thejerry said...

I vote C, because I've called you an astrologer many many times. You always give me the C response, never A, B, or D. Maybe next time you should give me response D, and maybe I'll catch the hint.

deannah said...

I really hope it was A. Does that make me a bad person?

Patrick & Leigh said...

I really wish there was a Trader Joes near me...and then I could pick up a variety of wholesome fare LIKE YUMMY INDIAN FOOD! I'm sorry you ran into such a crankster...it sounds like little Stellan was way better behaved than Grandpa Grumpy.

Jefe said...

None of the above. You picked up a bag of frozen fruit and opened it and dumped it on the guy.

MELISSA said...

None of the above. I say you snapped your fingers and your regular clothing flew off revealing the ninja suit underneath. You simultaneously whirled your nun-chucks while cutting the letter "M" (for Mommy) in his shirt while giving him the speech in answer A. He would have brought it upon himself anyway, the jerk. I can't believe he did that!