On Saturdays I sell fruits and vegetables at a poor man’s farmer’s market where most of the profit comes from food stamps. Crackheads and prostitutes need lettuce and tomatoes too.
There are only three vendors at this market, me and two other farms, the expensive soap vendor dropped out. You know those soaps made with essential oils? That cost $8 a bar?
There are no street performers, or local organic food and coffee vendors. No wooden chimes or blown glass.
There is no where to publicly pee because if the town put out a porta potty, it’d turn into housing for drug addicts. So I pee in an old rusty coffee can that this Italian guy Tommy Bruno used to pee into. He’s dead now but remains a legend on the farm for chain smoking and telling crooked mafioso stories, a real rough guy who was also very intelligent and well read.
“That coffee can has sentimental value,” my boss says.
Old immigrant Portuguese women who don’t speak any English get flustered over prices and try to bargain with me. They are my toughest customers and it is a challenge to be so unyielding because they remind me of how tough my grandmother was.
One morning I got there early and while I was setting up three adolescent boys on bikes ripped me off. “I’m gonna find out who your mother is, and tell her what you did!” I tried to say in my meanest voice, which isn’t very mean sounding. They just laughed and rode away. I’d been had. By 10 year olds.
I think about that farmer’s market in the Pacific Northwest I used to go to on Saturdays, the kind that sells soaps that smell like lavender and basil and cost $8. I’d sit on the periphery and eat a bag of green beans while thinking about the rich white people inside who buy $8 soap.