Check Your Connection

Good news for all. The circumstances of my current life have brought me back to my most favorite topic of all time. Kale.

I am back in the United States of America where vegetables and I have rediscovered our passion for one another and reconnected. They are the feature and highlight of my every meal. I am not sure how they feel about this, considering many of the times I am chopping, cooking, and throwing them into blenders with fast moving blades and such….but they endure it so that my red blood cells can be strengthened, and my heart can accelerate rather than stop in the name of love.

I recently started a garden in my parent’s backyard where I planted some conglomeration of the following: kale, collards, chard, arugula, carrots, beets, cucumbers, snap peas, and spinach (I think). Who knows what will come of this soil-turning, row-rowing madness, but eating food from the grocery stores has brought to my attention the dire need for planting my own vegetables. When I munch on a crunchy leaf of kale that was shipped from California, it tastes to me like I am eating one of those plastic soda pop rings seals die from in the ocean. When I pop into my mouth a juicy, succulent strawberry from the coast of who-knows-where-a-million-miles-away, my skin displays prominently a wave of hive-like marks that look like I am an adult trying to be sixteen and have spared no expense including the sporting of my own teenage hormonal dilemma.  Once you have tasted and seen the best of the land, the freshness and nutritional fullness of “Eating your View”, everything else pales in comparison. It leaves (no pun intended)  you washed up on the shore, starved even though you just had 10 pounds of organic spinach  –weak, alone, confused, and longing for true, deep, and meaningful beta-carotene. I’m a hold hand with carrot juice in public kind of girl. PDA…doesn’t have to be public….but it has to be willing to get personal.
Ok, I know you’re thinking I have gone off the deep end with all this vegetable love, but my digression will soon be a sensical succession.

According to my research, this same nutritional deficit can be felt with human beings, when all the pieces of the puzzle are there, there is just a flint shortage, keeping the flames from starting:

– They are in the time zone as you,

– You have the same interests or a mutual tie such as a favorite sports bar perhaps, or a favorite color, or you both find yourself shoe shopping at the same department store to ease the pain of the failure vegetables,

– You share a house or living space with the person,

– You bump into the person everyday on the commute to work (I’m not talking about the one you nudge every day with the bumper of your car! Be more imaginative, maybe you stop for a coffee every morning or something…)

As is indicated by the vegetable dilemma, the city presents reasons to interact with various people for many reasons. I have thus far in my life been unsuccessful at burying myself under a rock, someone always finds me when they are turning over a new stone and then it just becomes evident that I should find a new one as well. Because of my anti-hermitic tendencies, I have found myself intertwining with many people who try to “force” a connection. For example, the manager at Verizon decided to play a round of “Do You Know Who I Know” with me while I was renewing my cell phone plan. Mike Tate, from Nashua, NH…anyone??? Or, at times, I am the one trying to desperately force a connection because I want a lifetime of free hairstyling tips from our server at a restaurant.

“I’m so hilarious, why, just this morning I cracked myself up; surely the lady at the grocery check out will love my banter and instantly want to be my friend.”

Small talk may have brought us to a more advanced level, such as discussing our love for collecting Pokemon cards (secret confession), or our similar travel history to Mumbai where we both picked up the same parasite…but try as I may, I cannot get the relationship to go much deeper. It’s like finding the organic health food store and then finding out the produce comes from Botswana where “organic” is translated “soaked in pesticidal hot springs” and it’s actually just the crops no one there will endure. It’s surface level-skimming like one of those insects with the “Jesus bugs” that can walk on water, and it leaves me craving a real, refreshing, soul-nourishing conversation and pal. Perhaps I should just sit down at random venues, cross my legs and begin chanting. I could weed through the chaff, and find friends much faster that way. Though I might get myself invited to a lot of parties involving psychotropic drugs and 2am non-sanitary tattooing fests. Maybe I get a briefcase to stand on and hand out my own personally designed “tracts” describing the benefits of friendship with me? Transform myself into the Charlotte urban chic to try to open up some more opportunities for meet and greets…??

I suppose sometimes it’s nice to have the convenience of being able to get optimal nutrition at lightning speed, instant and effortless connections at your fingertips. And other times, it requires a bit more tending to, deliberate planting of seeds, like a garden. In the end, the result is actually the same.

I don’t necessarily need to venture out and hunt down the like-minded, push things along at what I deem is an appropriate rate (with say Miracle-Gro-Your-Friends or the equivalent off brand), or plant when it’s not seasonally appropriate. It would be easy for me to run to another land and make sure I have all my carrots in a row (although something else in my life would probably be painfully askew). It takes constant attention, watering, coyote-bb gunning, sun, vigilance, anti-pest patrolling, and a bunch of other things I have yet to learn about being a successful farmer. Maybe at this moment, I am learning how to properly tend the soil?

I am just now starting to see the real friendship crops of my reaping and sowing (as in, she is starting to agree with my opinions) with my wonderful friend, Jolanta and we have been Charlotte friends for a little over two years!

Everything good comes to those who wait. And patience –slow, steady and constant strides– indeed does pay.

— Emily —

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