Sunday, October 7, 2007

Babies!Babies!Babies!—Notes on a Farmer's Market

Derrick and I try to avoid going to the Rockridge Farmer's Market on Claremont. We only go if we miss the one on Saturday morning in our own neighborhood. The reason is the babies, the many, many babies. It's not that I'm against babies, it's just that this particular market is so saturated with high-tech strollers and families 4 or 5 children deep that I sometimes start to hyperventilate, worrying about the overpopulation crisis. Derrick has had to unlatch my hand from his arm, prying my fingers off one by one. "It's Rockridge, honey. What were you expecting?" Yes, yes, I know this neighborhood is where the rich come to reproduce, and if you took away the double-wide strollers with the SUV suspension (and probably better safety ratings than my Corolla), there'd probably be a lot more room to move freely between stands. Maybe I'd be able to reach the zucchini without accidentally stepping on tiny Crocs. Maybe the market wouldn't seem so densely babied.

Today I managed to forget my anxiety for a few minutes while I checked out (from afar) the new arm sleeve tattoo of a woman I always see around my neighborhood. I see her at the gym, on the street, everywhere. She's maybe in her 30's like me, not particularly punk or hipster, but she has tattoos all over her body. Not unusual here at all, but there's always been something about the arrangement of her tattoos, the sort of strategic placement of them that has made me feel like they are more about covering up an unloved body than a passion for ink. There's nothing cohesive about them, they're more like tattoo islands. Then today, when I saw her at the Farmer's Market, she had this new opaque, black sleeve tattoo, sliced into segments by curving paths that revealed slivers of the old tattoos hidden underneath. It's like she's layering. Like the old tattoos weren't hiding her enough, and now she's covering herself in black. It made me feel sad for her. I got that same feeling you get when you see an anorexic, that "Oh, honey. Just looking at you hurts." It's entirely possible that I have this woman all wrong. But I doubt it. It kind of made me want to give her a hug.

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