Amongst all the moments I've experienced in Albuquerque, New Mexico thus far, the experience of grocery shopping has been the most frustrating. (I say this lightly because I'm generally a really positive person and try to make the most of any event.)
I don't think we're in the Bay Area anymore, Toto.
In obtaining provisions for my expected day-long trip to the Petroglyph Historical Monument, I wanted to make sandwiches from the faux deli slices I've come to love so very very much, Tofurkey. So Felicia dropped me off at the local grocery store, Smith's, and I snaked through the aisles glancing at every name brand carried. They had MorningStar Chick'n patties (+10 points for Abq), and Amy's Organic foods (awesome, +15 points). At least I knew where I could go if I needed a quick dinner. But as long as there's no microwave or outlet in the middle of the desert, this made for terrible pic-a-nic food.
I grabbed some salad ingredients and a bunch of spinach before making my way to the checkout. I felt a little bit defeated but obviously the cashier would know for certain what brands were carried.
"Did you find everything alright, ma'am?" Here I go:
"No, I was looking for Tofurkey. Do you carry any?"
She looked very puzzled.
I explained: "It's like deli slices made of tofu, but it looks like turkey. Tofurkey."
She remained confused. I was beginning to think I should have stashed some of my own on the flight down.
"Let me see if _______ knows if we have any," she said as she called for the bag boy in the next shopping line. "Excuse me, ____ ? This woman has a question for you." He seemed more than happy to oblige, judging by the dopey smile on his face framed by a poor excuse for a goatee.
"Do you have Tofurkey?" I inquired.
The smile faded. "What is it?" he asked.
"It's like turkey. Made of tofu. For vegetarians," I clarified.
With each additional sentence I felt like I was digging my own grave with my own soy shovel. He looked confused as to whether I should be taken seriously or not. So I carried on:
"That's why it's called Tofurkey. It's turkey, made of tofu. Tofurkey. Get it? Wokka, wokka, wokka!" (I figured this was turning into a spectacle, I might as well add the icing.)
He burst out laughing. I gave them my money and left, but not before recognizing the privilege I have of living meat-free in the Bay Area and laughed at myself.
With the ubiquity of hot-air balloons so ingrained into the Abq culture and mindset you'd think that by simply clicking my shoes three times, SOMEONE would take up the hint.