You know how it is, Whole. You know. And I know you know. We just can’t pretend it is what it was any longer.
Bad things have been happening between us whenever I’ve tried to get into your sack for quite some time. It’s time to face the fact that we just don’t have that old natural spark between us any longer. We’ve faded from organic to conventional. It’s time to move on to fresh fruits and vegetables new — elsewhere. Ditto your firm, moist, and alluring meats of many flavors. None of what you’re doing to me is doing it for me anymore.
I ignored a lot of your irritating habits, Whole — like keeping that entire wing of the dairy case jammed with your revoltingly raw vegan pastes and six flavors of tofu, that sloppy second of soy. I rationalized you were just trying to keep your green ass from getting so fat you couldn’t get into that tacky green apron you insist on wearing all the time, because “they go with my Earth shoes”.
I put up with your petulant insistence on “helping me” find things I wasn’t looking for whenever I paused in an aisle to ask myself “Johnson Grass and Brayla Suet Sausage? What the hell is that and what life form eats it?”
I put up with your plucking money from my wallet while I slept, so you could blow it on wind power and floats in the Green Pride Parades. I figured that every Whole needs a hobby.
Yes, I put up with your junkies’ greed as you whined for more and more…. especially in the cheese department where you had no shame in marking up English and French and “local, sustainable” cheeses first to $20 a pound (Or as you coyly say, “$19.99!”)…. and then up to $25 a pound… and then — since somebody was evidently paying you to screw them this hard — when you went whole hog and started into the $35 a pound range with no end to your cheese needs in sight.
Yes, I just looked the other way, Whole. I figured I could always just skulk around the deli counter cadging slices of salami and smidgens of cheese off your perky crew until they grew tired or I was full. But the feeling of being used by you — especially with the Euro cheeses which went up and up regardless of how heavily the Dollar was sitting on the face of the Euro — kept on pinching me in the pocket.
Even then I accepted your “Give More Green to Be More Green” smarm. Why?
Was it because your moist and juicy fruit always looked so tender, sweet, and tasty?
Was it because you always reminded me, in your organic, vegan, tofu-sodden shelves, of those unshaven but passionate hippie girls of my youth? The ones with the faint Frida Kahlo mustaches like the fuzz I once licked from your peaches.
Was it because I thought I was demonstrating my successful status by shopping at a grocery store whose motto might as well have been, “Whole Foods: Why Pay Less?”
Was it the frisson that compulsive gamblers feel as I watched a single paper bag of your goodies climb relentlessly over the last few years from $50 to $75 to over $100 with no sign that I was at least going to get a French kiss as a reward?
I even put up with your ceaseless whining about the friggin’ environment, being green and all, and your constant nudging about bringing my own bag to carry away your noodle soup, and your waxed cardboard containers for the salad bar that would always leak dressing onto my leather seats.
I suppose it was all of these things about you, building up slowly… and yet… and yet…
Whenever I’d leave you, after depositing a C-note or two in the register by the door, I’d think, “No more. No more. We can’t go on meeting like this.” But in a couple of weeks, my yearning for you would rise like the yearning I often have for a Korean massage. And I’d be back, slipping into your embrace, and always…. after scraping the detritus of my plate into the garbage a few hours later… I’d feel used. Even after a shower.
But today was it. That’s enough. We’re over. Finito. Kaput.
What was it? Like the end of all sordid love affairs, Whole, it was a little thing that did it.
There I was, after buying a slab of your succulent meat at a mere $28.99 a pound, adrift in your kitchen supplies aisle. I remembered that I needed aluminum foil. I scanned your bursting shelves and then I saw it… the “If You Care” Aluminum Foil. It was made, it breathlessly told me, of “100% recycled aluminum.”
The “If You Care” was a 50 foot roll of the silver stuff. It was priced at $4.50. Next to it sat your good old new aluminum foil. Yours was a 75 foot roll of the stuff I’ve faithfully used and recycled all these years. It was priced at $2.25.
It dawned on me then, Whole, that as it was with so many other things about you I was screwed no matter which I chose. Somehow, if I “cared” enough to spend $2.25 more for 25 feet less “If You Care” foil I’d just recycle that caring foil again so that it could come back for more caring at a higher price.
I could take it, Whole, when it was just you and me and a little extra expense for a small tickling moment of splendor in the wheat grass. But now you were sharing your shelves with the high-price whores of recycling and I knew that if I stayed with you a moment longer, I would turn green with bankruptcy.
That’s why I abandoned you and your succulent meat in your shopping cart on Aisle 5. That’s why I left that chunk of Neal’s Yard Cheshire at $32.99 moldering in your private collection.
Whole, I’ve given you some of the best, and certainly expensive, grocery purchases of my life. But we’re done now. Like all tawdry retail sluts tarted up with those French plum tarts near the cash registers, you’ve finally stepped over my food love line of death.
I’ve left, a shattered man, with whatever shreds of dignity and solvency remain. Don’t write. Don’t call. And especially don’t offer to take me back to that Devon Clotted Cream in Aisle 2 that we once smeared over our shortbreads together in that wild, hot Summer of 2006. We’re quits. Deal with it.
P.S. If by any chance you want to dump that Neals Yard Cheshire cheese at fire sale prices when Washington refuses to bail you out… twitter me.