A new greengrocer opened up in town. You can see the orange awning from down the street which displays the name that unfortunately only I can laugh at. "POINT FRUIT." There was a line out the door for several days after the opening, so I went to see what all the fuss was about.
I shuffled my way in through the hordes of old ladies in full-length fur coats who scrupulously handled and chose their produce before getting in line to pay. The basket of clementines was brimming with the tiny orange orbs and their perfect green leaves. I filled my plastic bag. Next to them, there were trees of broccoli that I couldn't leave behind. Then lemons, red peppers and Porcini mushrooms caught my eye. Needless to say, my tiny plastic bag with the orange words, "POINT FRUIT" was bulging.
I got in the line that went out the door and began to wait. I changed arms with my bag and breathed deeply, wondering what on earth was taking so long. When I got closer I figured out the reason why the POINT FRUIT was always filled with customers. The man behind the counter was having minutes-long conversations with each old-lady client! I had been waiting so long that I contemplated putting things back, just to lighten the load. What are they talking about...?
One woman complains that her daughter is losing too much weight. Fruit vendor says she's working too much, it's obvious! Lady replies in dialect and the whole line laughs. Another lady says that those cucumbers don't look so fresh. Fruit vendor says they're the freshest cucumbers she'll ever eat. Next lady wants to know if the fruit vendor's cousin was the one she saw that day at that thing? By now I'm not even paying attention, as I'm asking myself aloud, "Are these clementines worth it?" (If you're wondering, "What if they understood you?" to that I reply, "POINT FRUIT.")
Finally my turn came and fruit vendor had no idea who I was, therefore, no way to small talk! He looked disappointed. I paid the ridiculously low price of 2.20 for my items, grabbed my change and was about to run out of there as fast as possible when the man looked at me with a smile and said, "This parsley will be great with those Porcini mushrooms," and stuck a huge bundle of fresh parsley into the POINT FRUIT bag. "Have a nice lunch!" he said waving.
I couldn't believe what a personalized gesture that was, so when I got home I told Manu right away. "And then when I couldn't wait to get out of there he gave me parsley! Isn't that so nice?" He answered, laughing, "Mari, they all give free parsley!"