Recently at one of the farmers markets I sell at, a woman and a teenage boy approached my stand, paused for a moment to whisper together, and then stepped forward. The boy was maybe seventeen, the woman in her mid-sixties. I couldn’t place their relationship. The boy spoke for them, and he was shy.
“We were just wondering,” he said, “about those peas. If they’re the edible pod kind.”
I said they were, and taking a pea from a bowl full of them, I held it up, called it a snap pea, and showed them how to remove the string. Then I ate it.
“Would you like to try one?” I asked.
They both shook their heads no. But then the boy immediately changed his mind and said yes. And he followed through. He selected a pea, and, removing its string, popped it into his mouth. The woman and I watched him.
“The funny thing is,” he said, “is how we were just talking about this. I said you can eat the pods, she said no you can’t.“ We laughed, and I noticed the boy had a habit of rocking on his toes. Every time he said something, he would lift himself with his toes.
Another thing I noticed (I had picked up on this immediately) was the kid’s shirt. He was wearing an oversized, black tee shirt. And plastered in huge on the shirt from the collar down to the hem was a yellow image of a menacing young man giving the world the middle finger. The finger was gigantic. It was the largest middle finger I’d ever seen. When the boy had reached for his sample pea, that finger was inches from my face. Continue reading