The OrganicDeli’s freshly baked chocolate-cherry tarts
She was elusively 70 years of age or more —without a single wrinkle! Her bright orange hair colour was well chosen to accentuate aquamarine gemstone eyes. Of course, her turquoise raw-silk dress was haute-couture. It was a perfect backdrop for the cascading chunks of gold and crystals around her neck, venerating wearable sculpture. But it was her boots that were the fashion statement. And what a statement! They were knee-high, skillfully hand-embroidered in petit-point, with huge pink peony flowers atop green leaves —and, 6" pointy-toed pin-point stiletto heels. Those boots did not fit with an old woman in a wheelchair. Her body may have been broken. But her spirit was not!Her looming had been screaming at me in my peripheral vision. As my gaze turned toward her, my index finger automatically followed. “WOW! They’re gorgeous!” I said, pointing at the boots.
“Thank you Dear,” she replied, with a nails-on-chalkboard screech. “When I got them, they came up to ‘The VAGINA’!!!” Then, with beady eyes she stared at me
She reminded me of myself, having loved to shock people since childhood. Anyone who lacks playfulness and repartee still depresses me. It is rude to not be shocked! But today I just didn’t have time to play.
Stacked on a nearby rack, the Deli’s famous seed-encrusted breads beckoned me to squeeze them. She followed me with her eerily silent electric wheels, while continuing to describe the purse that she had made from the leftovers of the boots. Then she held it up like a prize. Indeed, it was stunning. Like Romanov treasure from the Hermitage Museum, the peony flowers on the bag had been accentuated with iridescent crystals and tied with a thick golden rope.
“You look lovely,” I said, torn between my fascination with her and wanting to knock her off to steal her boots. But I was already late for an appointment and trying to decide on just one non-fattening delicacy for dinner. The ravenous Pitbull in my belly had been disturbed while feeding! It was about to leap out of me, fangs bared and growling menacingly. But I subdued it with a smile.
“Oh, I knooow!” she continued, fracturing my left ear-bones. “Men flirt with me all the time. Just the other day, in the salad section, a sweet hunk of a man smiled at me. Then some awful hag popped out from behind him, babbling that if he talked to me, he shouldn’t bother coming home! Well…I just…”
“That’s a great compliment to you!” I said demurely, with side-eye. I had to cut her off. It sounded like a never ending soggy-saga cliché about ‘the other woman.’
Her train of thought had been interrupted. She suddenly forgot what she was going to say. But her puzzled eyes soon glowed bright with delight by my flattery. “Oh, what a darling man! And sexy too!” she screeched.
I waved to her, then turned and walked away with a loaf of still warm, Kalamata olives and Mediterranean herbs bread —before she could jump me…
“Don’t feed the ‘Histrionics’ or they’ll follow you home,”
But the idea of this woman haunted me. She was a unique beauty —a horny old lady with dangerous, sexy boots. $20,000 worth of ‘assets’ hanging from her, and wrapped around her, was evidence that she could afford to live in sheltered splendour. On top of that, it takes talent to dress with such artistic flair. She had it all
As a Baby-Boomer, her parents would have lived through the Great Depression and several wars. Surely, she had rebelled against their Depression-Era, austere Conservatism, like others of her times. She, may have inherited their millions in bootleg-liquor money and consequently remained shallow from an entitled life without challenges. Had she continued on as a trophy-wife in her mother’s extravagant, nouveau-riche boot-steps? Or had she struggled to make her own fortune in a world controlled by men?
Early Baby Boomers, like her, growing up in the financial booms of the 50s & 60s, were blessed with higher education than their predecessors, as well as on-the-job training to integrate into markets and professions. They could financially afford to reject stereotypically traditional values based on poverty and fear, to experiment with free-spirited counter-culture.
As ‘Flower Children,’ they celebrated the body as a beautiful temple of the soul —not a source of shame, as was dictated by the religious and political ideologies of those times. The ‘Sexual Revolution’ and the Naturist resorts of Europe, where whole families vacationed and freely splashed around on beaches in naked bliss, emerged from their influence. This ‘body is beautiful’ generation became physically fit from dancing to the unstructured, joyful, abstract expressionism of Disco, which in turn freed fashion from muted, inhibiting, stodgy garb, in favour of comfortable and colourful ‘tie-dye’ clothing. Their ‘Hippy’ revolution also engaged with their societies about social causes, ending war and bringing LOVE to the whole world.
As an Early Boomer, our Fancy Grandma had seen the ravages and the end of Communism, and had helped to usher in a new age of ‘Secular Governments’ with Human Rights Charters. Her generation developed the computer and internet into a working reality for the whole planet, bringing connectivity to forgotten corners of the world.
Alongside humanity’s progress, she may have recognized the rise of restrictive forces of Fundamentalist religion and Political Correctness that were once again eroding humanity’s hard-won freedoms. It is possible that she may have ignored it; or, she may have made a conscious effort to combat it with beauty. She may have taught her children and grandchildren to fight the drabness of oppression with physical beautification; to subvert the subtle forces of dark ideologies with glorious colour. Evidently, her soul still refuses to be deflowered by the ravages of time, or history, or political movements.
We need more ‘Flower Power!’ As a society, we are overmedicated into complacency and fattened-up with empty calories to make us sluggish —to keep us from questioning and challenging corporate greed. We need more feisty, sexy old ladies to show new generations the many devious ways that we are exploited.
In the 1960s and 70s, the Early Boomers’ need for dismantling the control mechanisms of political dominance was also responsible for the ‘back-to-nature’ organic and health foods movement. The ever-increasing introduction of plastic foods with artificial flavours and colours, FastFood Restaurants, frozen TV-Dinners, SPAM, CheezWhiz and artificial sweeteners, was seen by Boomers as a way of controlling societies and the very fabric of nature through chemistry. They were responsible for establishing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Good Manufacturing Practices in food safety.
Today, we once again need Boomer Spirit to discern what is real from glamourized fakery. Food manufacturers now rely on scientific studies of the chemistry and neurology of taste to enhance their merchandise, naturally and/or with chemicals. Together with the most unethical industry of all —Advertising— they ruthlessly usurp and monetize brain research to lure us to consume and get hooked on their contrived concoctions. They train us like Pavlov’s dogs to salivate to idealized images of ‘JunkFood’ by rewarding us with fantasies of attractive models eating hedonistically. From childhood to adulthood, they prime us to eat more and more impulsively, based on social media driven tastes influenced by advertising —not nutrition. By creating eating compulsion and addiction in mass populations, they ensure perpetual profits. The side effects are today’s epidemics of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, food allergies and other illnesses that cause trauma and death. Paradoxically, the skinny Cuban poor who subsist on rice and beans are healthier than the obese American poor who are overfed on high calorie, low nutrition junk food.
At the same time, Americans are consuming mostly ‘In-Organic’ food. 85% of corn, soy and canola are Genetically Modified. As well, other produce is developed with growth hormones, carcinogenic pesticides & herbicides. Animals are fattened up with antibiotics, regardless of the antibiotic resistance it causes in people. They are given growth hormones and lactating hormones that are passed on to humans who eat meat, disrupting hormonal balances, especially of children. Processed foods are irradiated, chlorinated, hydrogenated, brominated, enhanced with artificial colours and flavours, and overloaded with fats, salt and sugar. They are then preserved with carcinogenic chemicals and packaged in hormone-disrupting plastics.
Crop monoculture, chemical poisons and vast animal farms destroy terrestrial and aquatic environments, thereby intensifying climate change. Tons of artificial fertilizers runoff into water, promoting enormous, toxic algae blooms that can be seen from space. Plastics now pollute even the most remote oceans, not only strangling aquatic life but also altering their development. Even antidepressants and other pharmaceuticals are now found in the brains of fish! Our planet continues to be hijacked and defiled!
Boomers are still fighting back against the plastic tide with their buying trends. Their need to ward off diseases and death through healthy foods and lifestyles, continues to transform markets. Grocery stores and restaurants are now clamouring to provide more organic or naturally-raised, healthy foods to meet the demand, and serve it with a personable smile.
Unfortunately, American laws governing food, drugs and farming practices are controlled by backroom deals with corporations. It is mostly through lawsuits that American health laws get changed. In contrast, Europe is anti-GMO and pro Organic. Its laws protect food production from unscrupulous corporate interests. They have realized that growing crops with poison, will poison humanity as well. Yet their crop yield is higher than that of the United States, whose population has been duped into believing that using GMOs and hazardous chemicals like Glyphosate, is the only way to feed the world. By 2018, 38 countries have banned GMOs. Canada is not one of them. It is the 3rd top GMO-producing country in the world! The GMO lobby has infiltrated Canadian governments, which refuse to label GMO produce for their citizens.
Nourishing our bodies with food as it had been grown for thousands of years is now a revolutionary act! Buying food comprised of only one ingredient is subversive. By refusing to eat food laced with myriads of unpronounceable chemical additives, we help to decrease the profits of Multinational food-processing conglomerates. Young people need to be taught ‘Media Literacy’ to help them recognize and subvert the tyranny of ‘Fake Food’ manufacturers in simple ways. Simply stopping to give them money is the most effective way. Bankrupt them! Every time we demand organic food and purposefully avoid GMOs, we erode the economic, political and social power of biochemical tyrants.
Flowers are a perfect symbol for resisting mercenary oppression through fake food, especially if they are organic, edible flowers. The use of wildflowers in natural medicines throughout millennia validates this idea. As we smell flowers and welcome them into our bodies, we need to become conscious of their beauty. We need to become conscious of beauty, not only in our outer environment, but also in our inner environment. We must keep beauty in our hearts and minds, even while wandering through bleakness caused by uncertainty, depression, or any totalitarian ideology. Beauty heals.
I wonder if I will ever again meet that elderly vixen in her sexy boots. Would she live up to my fantasies about her? Would she end up shocking me after all, with some delightfully nasty Politically Incorrect quip? Either way, I will be thinking of her next time I have the privilege of buying Organic food and sprinkling the salad at my birthday dinner with edible flowers.
"There is no such
thing as perfection.
Each step is a step
towards the next step."
Thankyou to my lovely,
smart sister Susan Fisch
for helping to edit my writings
in both English & French.
She does a great job.