Trips to the US usually require spending at least an afternoon at a mall (everything is so cheap) and on this occasion I found myself in Macy’s looking for a garlic press to replace my mom’s essentially non-functioning one. Admittedly my intentions weren’t completely altruistic. I was more looking to preserving my fingertips.
A particularly bored sales associate demonstrated each brand in turn and illustrated the distinguishing features with different anecdotes. “The one with the good grip was ideal for people with arthritis.” Apparently a friend of hers volunteered to make food for the emergency services on 9/11 and ended up peeling vegetables all day. “If only she had a grip as good as that one…” But she seemed to manage; after all you ought to just make do, was the obvious conclusion.
Feeling that I needed a reason behind selecting a brand, I decided to go with the garlic press manufactured by the same company who made my pots and pans, Anolon. Adding a random yarn of my own to complete this banter, I added, “I’m a big fan of their pots and pans, the only problem is that they are rather heavy and I dread having to lug them around the kitchen”. I thought this would elect sympathy from the elderly sales associate. The reality was quite the opposite. “You think they are heavy!” She proclaimed. “I have to move entire box sets around the department and I’m 75.” “You want to talk about heavy; my mother had a cast iron skillet that she was quite happy using until she was 80.” But I have a shoulder injury... Um OK, 75 year old grannies think I’m a wuss, point taken.
“You sound like you have an accent, where are you from.” Sensing an opportunity to slightly redeem my pathetic self, I explained that I was originally from the area but have spent the past 8 years in London. “Oh that's nice. I lived abroad for most of my life. I learned Spanish when I was in Mexico and Portuguese in Brazil…” Erm, I have a friend from Glasgow and sometimes I can understand what he says. “Can I just pay for this please?”