Hungry?

Looks good, doesn’t it? Incredibly ripe and fresh. You’d like one. You know it.

How would you get it?

You’d have to know what it is to begin with, what to call it and then where to find it. You’d do a near-invisible sorting of the many potential places in your area you even know about that would have this item for sale. Subconsciously discarding the places you wouldn’t consider shopping. Too dirty at this place. To expensive at this place. Maybe you’d do a quick search through the newspaper or online to see if any of your remaining typical shopping spots are having a sale.

You’d likely need to drive to get there (in America). So you hop in your car most likely and drive over. No need to consult anyone else or order a taxi or usually even call a friend to come with you or pick you up.

You know where it is you’re going because you go there every week. You know any number of routes that could get you there but those are subconsciously sorted down to one or two best options without you even being aware of it. You understand the rules of the road (and of course obey them!).

When you get where you want to go you know where to go in the store to find this item. Probably it’s on display with about a dozen or more other ones just like it. If you’re skilled you’ll figure out which one seems ripest and put it in your cart. Maybe you’ll pick up a few other things while you’re there, or see what might be on sale.

When you get to the check-out aisle you might know the person ringing up your order, you’ve been there so often. You make small talk, pleasantries about the weather or the frustrating state of Covid life. Effortless and easy, the language you’ve been speaking all your life. No need to search for the right word or wonder too much about grammar. You’re told your total and you know your debit card or credit card will work just as it does every week. Or you know how to count out the appropriate amount in bills and coins and hand it to the cashier. You know better than to hand them a $100 bill for an amount due of $15.07. The people behind you waiting don’t have to wait for you to convert currency in your head or shuffle, panicked, through your bills wondering which one might be the correct one. You don’t have to endure the withering glance of the cashier when you have trouble finding the right change, or you attempt to use a Discover Card when everyone knows the store only takes Visa and MasterCard.

You walk back out to your car and head home, ready to enjoy.

A hundred – a thousand – little decisions, evaluations, decisions made within the span of seconds and then minutes because you’ve done them all your life.

But if it’s your first time. In another country. With another currency. With relying on a hired driver to get you there and another one to get you back. When you don’t speak the language. Don’t know the customs. Can’t make the small talk. Talk like a baby when you try to speak the little you know. When you feel a dozen sets of eyes watching your every movement because you look different from every other person in the store. When the store isn’t a store but a plywood slab on the side of the road. When you don’t know what the woman is asking you so you agree to whatever it is she’s saying.

And in less time than it takes you to construct Thank you very much in the local language she’s hacked off the tough outer skin of the fruit, and carved the remaining tough bits out and quickly wrapped up the glistening, yellow deliciousness in a plastic bag. And you’re on your way. Trying to find a ride home. Picking your path through uneven sidewalks and past the gaze of curious people. Finally arriving at home and able to unwrap and enjoy this, this amazing bit of tropical deliciousness.

And this is not a pineapple. Not here. This is a nanas. And it is very delicious!

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