A sunny day.
I was walking to the market with limited liquidity and a short list of groceries to buy: aubergine, squash, lettuce and olives imperatively – fruit optionally.
I was leisurely reaching my destination and somehow, the new testament phrase on offering the other cheek, popped up in my thoughts. Specifically, I was pondering my interpretation of it, namely not letting one’s peace of mind be challenged by another person’s bad mood, or foul intentions.
The zen Buddhism meets Christianity-like paradox of the slapped cheek and unslapped spirit had just ebbed out of my consciousness as I made a stop at a fruit stall. I put a batch of bananas on the scales in front of me to check the weight, make a mental note of the price and return later on, once I had purchased the more vital items on my list.
The fruit-vendor was perplexed when I explained that for the moment, I just wanted to weigh the bananas, not buy them; he was obnoxious and impolite. I reacted to his customer-unfriendly manners and reciprocated by raising my voice. I would quite gladly have thrown unripe tomatoes at him, while adorning him with a garland of Neapolitan pejoratives, but a) I do not master the street talk of Naples and b) I believe in peace (bitch!).
Eventually, I turned my back on him with burning cheeks and tears clogging up my throat as they quite dumbly tend to do when I am really upset – wow, I can’t really recall the last time that happened. I found consolation in the salty tender flesh of a green olive that the seller at the Greek produce stand prompted me to try, allowing me to make an informed decision and regain my zenitude.
In the end, things turned out for the best: not only did I find organic, fair-trade bananas at an equally good price; I also managed to successfully accomplish my shopping mission.
A simple lunch, a power nap and a yoga session later, I was once again roaming the streets in the bright day. A tall African man stopped me to sell a story book. I had no more money on me, and was quite frankly not interested in story books. He clarified that any amount I could spare would do, but unfortunately, I was still as short of cash as before.
“Madam, you have nothing but your beauty then…,” he complimented me. There and then I was promoted from a bizarre banana woman to a fair lady.
There is obviously enough room for both slaps and pats under the sun.