So, this past week, my friend Brad called me up and said he wanted to go to the Hollywood Farmer's Market with me. He's never been! Well, now, do I just love nothing better than sharing the things I love with the people I love!
We met early, and cruised over there. He was surprised by how busy it was, being so early and all. But, farmer's markets tend to close early too, so you've just got to get there early to really be able to spend time there and get the good stuff and bask in it all.
And bask we did. Well, actually, I mostly basked. Brad was feeling a slight sickness coming on, so he did not join me for all of the glorious food tastings. I managed to taste just about everything anyone offered! The first thing I indulged in was "the best cream cheese ever", which, I must say, was very good and I considered buying it even though I don't think I've ever bought cream cheese in my life. The next stand that got me was a bagel stand, and I was sold when I saw the mini bagels! It's safe to say that I have loved miniature versions of things my whole life. So I just decided then and there to buy the mini bagels and go back and get the best cream cheese in the world and call it meant to be. I was very excited about that little combine working out. Like the bagels just popped up so that I had a reason to get the cream cheese. Simple things, my dears, simple things.
Then we wandered down the long, long street of farm stands. Vegetables and berries and honey and spices. I assume that asparagus, artichokes and avocados are really happening right now, which is to say that they must be in season. Those were just everywhere! I have been wanting to make avocado toast lately so I bought three avocados and a few lemons and I still haven't made avocado toast, but it's looming.
It's one of the biggest farmer's markets I know of, which I really appreciate, because I love having choices and variety. There are always about six different musical acts spread throughout the span of it, too. And I was so excited that my favorite bizarre Asian guitarist was out, so that Brad could share that with me, that we had to pause and just listen for a while and appreciate the weirdness and we tipped him a dollar because he's sort of just always made me happy.
My other favorite musical act is the jazz band. Obviously, because I love jazz. But we stopped and I just gazed at the snare drum and got a bit lost in memories and I told Brad that I've always had a connection with the snare drum because we had a snare drum in my home growing up and we'd play it, but when dad played it, he managed to create an entire symphony with that thing and I always admired him for his drumming talents. He could make a symphony tapping on the counter, though, that's just the way he was. Some angelic genius, and could make something of nothing, no matter what it was.
I told Brad that my dad had been a big band drummer at one point in his life, and that in his early days in Aspen ended up drumming for this cabaret/dinner show. It was actually because one night the drummer was sick and my dad was working in the kitchen and someone was asking if anyone knew how to play the drums and my dad humbly said that he sort of did, which is just so him to completely underplay his talents because he just didn't need to show off, and then he was so good and they were completely amazed, so after that he got to drum in the show a lot. God, how I loved hearing his stories!
And then Brad told me that he grew up playing the drums, and I had no idea! There's always something new to discover, even with old friends. We keep finding out so much about each other that we didn't know even after so many years of being friends. That's the thing about going out on unusual adventures with people. Even if you've known them forever and feel like you really know them. Something presents itself that just brings something else to light. That you never expected. And you are drawn closer. Friendships are so lovely.
And, at the Afghan food stand, I finally experienced my first successful bargaining! I mean, I did it once, accidentally, buying a hat at the flea market one time. I asked how much a hat was and the vendor told me it was $15 and I told her I just had to go get money from my friend (I didn't have enough cash) and as I walked away, she was just like, "ok, ten dollars, ten dollars!" So basically she bargained for me because I was totally going to pay fifteen, but honestly needed to get cash. That was a funny one.
But my Afghani guy. I could tell I had a shot. He really seemed to dig me. I asked him how much each item was and he said $6 apiece, but he'd work out anything for me. That was a big burden, that vagary, because I had no idea what that meant or how low I could go with it or what the modus operandi was for such an offer. So I basically just became extremely indecisive and told him I only had a ten, but wished I could get three items, but that I guess I just had to pick two, but I didn't know which two, oh, so tough, I love them all, and I lingered and lingered, and he finally said, pick two and I'll surprise you with the third. So I got three $6 items for $10! Amazing! And while I was deliberating, I watched him charge many people $6 for each item. So I was rather proud. We learn the ways of the world. We most certainly do. If we practice and pay attention and keep on being good.
I also played the lottery last week, with all of my other countrymen. And, because I never play the lottery, it all got me thinking. Maybe it wouldn't be good to win that much. Because, in trying to make it out in the world, I seem to be granted the best lessons, the most lessons. Trying to figure life out sometimes seems like the whole point. Like, if you had it all, you might just lose the drive to understand it.
I don't know if I would go to the farmer's market and learn new things about an old friend and discover that I can, in fact, bargain and be proud of myself for doing so and connect so much with the Afghani kid who just seemed to adore my presence if I knew I could just simply throw down six bucks a million times over.
And I'm happy to say, I did, in fact, win the lottery. When I cashed in my ticket, I won $7! That's $7 given to me to continue living this life of mine. And to keep going, and enjoy all the gifts of this beautiful, beautiful world.