My childhood in Seattle was marked by weekly trips to the Pike Place Market with my parents. This was before it was the tourist mecca that it is today, when the little coffee store across the street was just a cool-smelling shop with a big mermaid on the sign. My parents knew many of the vendors–I can remember hanging out behind the counter at Don and Joe’s Meat Co., the big butcher shop that once in a while would have an entire pig’s head in the display; I remember always stopping and visiting with John Solid, the block-print artist whose images of animals graced our bedroom walls; and I remember the childhood crush I had on one of the produce guys who sold us our weekly fruits and vegetables.

On Saturday, Doug and I took Mercy and Aaron to the closest equivalent we could find: the Farmer’s Market in Santa Monica. Once a year WIC recipients receive $20 worth of coupons that can be spent at Farmers’ Markets in the city, so we told Mercy that we were going to the special market to use our “tickets” to buy some fruit. When we got there, I was immediately struck by something: I had forgotten what normal fruit looked like. Now, we can’t afford to shop organic in the grocery store (not that there is a plethora of options here in the hood anyway) so I have become accustomed to seeing fruit that is large and shiny and uniform. I was amazed at the market by how small and unique and flawed real fruit is; fruit that has been grown without pesticides and the like; fruit that has been allowed a natural maturation process. We bought tiny apples with amazing crispness and flavor, some lumpy peaches that taste so sweet, and some funny little pears that we have yet to try.

The other day, Doug and I were in an airport waiting for our luggage (in a city that will remain unnamed) and Doug commented about how refreshing it was to be in the midst of normal people; people who are not artificially plumped and tucked in all the right places; people with faces that are allowed to frown; people who look unique in their God-given colors and features. People who would, by most standards given to us, be considered unnattractive.

We are accustomed to being surrounded by “beautiful” people here in L.A. And yet how toxic, sometimes literally, is the process of becoming that way. And how bland the end result can truly be.


  1. I hear that completely, especially since we live in the East Coast’s answer to the plastic-ness of L.A.

    Seriously, I’ve never in my life seen so many women with fake breasts.

    The one thing about this area that makes it unique, I think, is that older women here don’t move away to Arizona. And here, the older women visit the same doctors as the younger ones. It’s a bit scary, really.

  2. What I’m afraid of most with the perfection-first society is the women who abort their babies when they find out they are going to have downs, or williams syndrome. I’m not judging the women, I’m just deeply saddened that, in this world, this next generation, their will be less and less special children. They have so much to offer. I just pray that God will continue to allows some to live.

  3. Erika,
    Kris and I have been to Seattle a couple of times, and we love Pike Street Market and the fish throwing. And Kris bought some Marion Berry preserves that might be the best thing on planet earth with bread and a daub of peanut butter.

  4. Scot,
    My husband would eat Marionberry jam/pie/syrup/cobbler at every meal if it was available. He’s a good Oregon boy that way! In fact, when I was up there without him this summer, a nice jar of Marionberry jam was my “sweetheart gift” for him when we were reunited!

  5. just thought i would echo Scot’s comment. Marion Berry pie is probably the only thing better!

  6. Jer,
    Yeah, the “breast aug” phenom is kind of amazing. On the local hip-hop station, they have a website where you can post photos of yourself showcasing your “work” (in partnerhsip with some big plastic surgery practice) and people can do the whole “Are you hot” thing and vote for each other.

    Oh, and I had to restrain myself from making any melon references in my post 🙂

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