Monday, November 9, 2015

Share #13: Ballard Farmer's Market

My Share is throwing me off and I'm not sure why. I'm not restricting my diet in any way, but my diet is certainly restricted. I can eat whatever I want, but only under certain circumstances. I can only eat with another human being, in relation, in community. Why would this cause confusion?

I've already sorted out what in relation means. I cannot eat with a dog or a cat. I cannot eat over the phone with someone or online or on Skype. I cannot eat something alone that someone gave me as a gift yesterday. I cannot eat in a public place where other are eating simply because there are others there. I must be in community. I must be sharing something with someone, least of all food.

Last week, I was sharing dinner with a friends. After dinner I ate my cream puff and suddenly felt guilty. What had I done?! I'd cheated. Wait wait, no, that wasn't cheating. That is allowed. My friend eaten a cream puff. We'd shared an experience. So why did I have this little panicky feeling? I used to get this feeling every so often when I was younger and worked three jobs and had, against all odds, a rare day off. In the middle of that carefree day I would suddenly panic. I'm supposed to be somewhere! Where? At one of my jobs? Which one? I would need to fish for things I knew every other day. Sort out what day it was. It was like I was suddenly unfamiliar with myself and my life. Then I would swim through it or in it and locate myself and the day too and my environs and reintegrate. No. I'm not supposed to be anywhere. Everything is ok. I am right here, where I am meant to be. Then a melting relief.

I wonder why, after eating a cream puff, I felt that way. Perhaps it's a conditioned sweet connection? I know from Hunger, the fasting/receiving work I did for NEPO 5k Walk Don't Run, in 2013, sugar grabs at a part of me, a part that will not be satisfied, that wants to cheat and steal away. Perhaps the sugar recalled that part of me? Whatever it was, I took some time to  review how I eat sugar, under what circumstances. I eat sugar at breakfast on hot cereal, in the form of biscotti. On rare occasions, I purchase package of cookies--my favorite are those dark chocolate topped digestives, McVittie's, from Great Britain. I like to eat them alone and to ration my intake. I pull out two cookies to have with my hot black milk tea. Then I pull out one more. Then one more, really, just one. Then I put them away a third time.

I have plenty of food where I am staying, but I cannot go into the kitchen and eat it, which is a different way of being. When I was fasting (Hunger, 2013), I did not have food around. I had a bolder line between me from food. Now I am carrying food around in a bag looking for circumstances to eat it.

What is this project about? What am I doing or supposed to be doing? I find myself wondering. Was I supposed to keep silent? Was I supposed to eat that? It's a lot looser that you'd think, but then there's a big obstacle, the inability to eat without a companion, which means I do not snack. I do not answer my hunger. Typically, I snack all day on nuts and yogurt and chocolate and bread.

I met Mylinda at 1pm at the Ballard Farmer's Market. I hadn't eaten since 2pm the day before. I was hungry. We shared a fresh quesadilla and a tamale. We sat in a doorway eating from our laps. People were streaming by. The rain let up. Later, I bought some things to take home, wild flower honey, 2 bunches of beets, 6 plums, a delicata squash and a chicken pot pie. Everything made fresh and organic, from products in season, grown locally. Splurge!!

When I lived in a studio on Old Ballard Avenue, last November, December and January, I'd walk out my door and right into the farmer's market on Sundays. I could hear them conversing in the early morning light as they set up their stands. The wood-fired oven pizza cart was the closet to me. Smoke from their fire wafted in through my window.

Some day, I will eat food purchased at the market, and only at the market, for one month, one season, one year. See what evolves. See how I change. See if I can connect my body with my landscape through my diet, live on food that lived in my region, on fish and meat raised on my land, on fruits and vegetables that are falling in season. Supermarkets make it hard to know. Where did this come from? How long ago was it picked? Was it ripe then or green? And isn't it strange I live in a culture where I must construct this reality?

I've lived on supermarket food most of my life, except for twice. Once, when I was in Poland and once when I was in the South Pacific. In Poland, I knew when strawberries were in season. For two weeks, you saw them and everyone ate them. Then they were gone. Same with sunflowers. And gooseberries. And plums. Unless you pickled it, that was the last you saw of it until the next year. Eating pickled pumpkin was a different story. Your labor was deep in that. In the South Pacific, I ate food plucked from the tree everyday, pulled out of the sea, hot from the oven. Coconuts, tuna, parrotfish, urchins.

There are several fresh, year-round, farmer's markets in Seattle. In the University District on Saturdays and in Ballard, Fremont, Capitol Hill and West Seattle on Sundays. In the summer, there are even more.

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