Traveling always provides fresh fodder for writing on human behavior. Having traveled to the southwest of late, one would think that the choices of topics would be endless. However, there is no place like home!
By the end of June, the first fresh produce of the season is being sold in supermarkets, on street corners, and in numerous farmer's markets around the city. It is one of my favorite times as going to the market is like a department store at Christmas. There is so much fresh produce to choose from that one can easily get carried away and purchase much more than you can possibly eat before it spoils.
Corn on the cob is always a popular choice. The gentleman, I am using this term loosely, that I met today is surely a corn connoisseur. How do I know this? Well, if you are a serious corn buyer, you must know how to check each ear of corn for it's suitability for your upcoming meal. You can peel the husk down far enough to insure that the corn is indeed mature, the kernels are plump and juicy, and that there is no evidence of disease. Most corn vendors provide buyers with a large barrel in which to discard the husks if they prefer to husk the corn at the market rather than at home. It can be a messy job so many like to leave the mess at the store.
Picture in your mind then, one large commercial trash can sitting by a huge bin of fresh corn. There are several people sorting through the offering. It is Saturday afternoon and the market is very busy. Two or three of us have selected our ears and turn to the trash can to clean our corn for the evening meal. It is not to be.
The entire LARGE trash can has been commandeered by the a fore mentioned gentleman. He has piled his treasure in easy reach, has extended his elbows for maximum coverage, and has planted his feet in a wide stance to be able to withstand any frontal attacks by fellow corn pickers. He is hunched over the barrel with only quick glances as the possible invaders while working diligently to get his ears completely free of corn silk. I am not sure if he is more fearful of losing his selected ears of corn or his prime location in front of the barrel.
There is a line forming, and I can tell you, it is not a friendly line. As the chatter becomes louder and more aggressive, it only inspires him to increase his cleaning efforts. It looks as if he actually trying to increase his personal space even further. I am perfectly content to clean my corn at home, but am sure that several of the other shoppers are not of the same ilk. As I was walking away, I believe I heard some comment about a place where the sun does not shine.
I hope he enjoys his corn as much as I enjoyed the spectacle.