1/2 of a $4 strawberry

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If I have a vice it’s food–and of course the obvious overindulgences in penis and so forth–but this specific blog with start out with food. Good food, specifically. Some days I’m a vegetarian, here and there I can pull off vegan. I like to think I try. These loose requirements coupled with location and internet access have landed me on an over-regular basis at Urth Caffe. So I’m here now.

Urth Caffe is ridiculously over priced, or so it seems. For example, if you’d like a side of jam with your toast they will charge you. I think they try to cater to people who only feel good when they’re spending money. Why else would they provide the option to valet your damn car for your morning coffee run in the middle of a warehouse district filled with ample parking? I disapprove, but not enough to switch. They claim they’re superior because produce is bought locally, everything is organic, homemade, the coffee beans were kissed by the firstborn sons of kings etcetera, etcetera. All I know is the food really is good. Today my breakfast was served with exactly one half of a sliced strawberry and a cute little orange curl. I did the math, and I think these things account for at least $4 of the total cost. I can’t be sure. Needless to say I had to eat the strawberry to feel justified.

This was no earthly strawberry. It was perfect. It should be the founding father of all future strawberries. It was perfectly red and ripe and so packed with flavor that it made my eyes water. The fruit fell off the stem. It was everything a strawberry should be. It reminded me of children’s books, specifically of the one my mom used to read to me every night before bed about the big-eyed girl with the pink bonnet who worked hard when all of her friends were playing and gardened tirelessly and held out even when everybody else was eating their barely ripe spoils. Then one day she woke up and saw that she had grown the perfect strawberry, and everyone was jealous. I had just eaten her strawberry. I felt bad for her.

It got me thinking about the other children’s books that were read to me and the superficial ambiguous morals I’m just now realizing they may have been trying to implant, gently. I suppose the strawberry story was meant to teach me that good things come to those who wait, or, work hard, future slave child, so that some café can sell your precious strawberry at an insanely high mark up. Or something. I believe in a strong work ethic but the second it seems like you’re just being steered into the hands of some organization who will take the surplus stemming from your efforts I’m convinced we’re all just being conditioned for the peasantry. If I remember correctly, the girl in the bonnet never ate her strawberry. She just looked at it proudly. If I have my cake, you’re goddamned right I’m gonna eat it too. Then I’m gonna spend two hours in the gym.

I don’t know what I’m getting at. I’m irritated that a strawberry can be that good, that it’s that overpriced, that it’s probably not overpriced at all because as economics would justify, I’m only paying the real cost of the widget now that the good people of Urth have paid full price to local markets that don’t rely on pushing negative externalities on the general population to turn a profit. Or something. I’m irritated that I don’t remember the fine details of that children’s book well enough to know whether my mom was secretly grooming me for the peasantry. I’m irritated that America pretends not to have class systems as it measures its shrinking middle class and growing wealth gaps. Mostly I’m irritated that people keep telling me with big reassuring smiles that I can do better than porn right before they rattle off a long list of occupations that would keep my pants on but take away all the things I enjoy like one half of this $4 strawberry and the time to complain about it and an audience to unload it on and its sickening how many people would define ‘better off’ as me wearing a pink bonnet and toiling in fields for a strawberry some random bitch with a blog will get to eat and talk about instead.

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