Archive for July 23, 2010

The 2010 TJ’s Buggy — New Body Style, Better Handling

July 23, 2010

The woman at Trader Joe’s looked at me like I was crazy when I went for the cart behind the cart that was in the front. Does that make sense? I pulled out one cart, then pulled out the next one and took that one. So naturally I felt the need to explain, so I said, “I like the red ones,” to which she gave me an even crazier look, because they are all red. But what I meant was, the solid red ones. Because they. are. awesome.

Side note: I’ve been using the word “cart,” because I want you to know what I’m talking about. But growing up in N.C., we called them “buggies,” and I frankly prefer that, so I’m switching now and bringing you along with me. Yay! Here we are. We’re talking about solid red buggies, and you’re in for a treat.

So, historically, when I’ve gone to the grocery store, I’ve always gotten the bad buggy. You know the one. The wheels squeak; or one of the brakes is permanently in the locked position so it drags across the floor making a noise like a dying hippo; or it veers to the right or left so that in order to keep it going straight, I have to throw my entire body weight into it. On the way out to the car, if the sidewalk is slanted one way or the other, it careens toward that side, dragging me with it until I swing around and block its trajectory or race over to the opposite corner and pull it, lurching to and fro until I finally arrive at my car in a full sweat. I always got that buggy.


One day, I took my roommate to the airport right around rush hour. After dropping her off, rather than spend my day on the freeway, I chose instead to go to a shopping center and kill some time. Well, there is a Trader Joe’s at that shopping center, and much to my surprise and delight, upon entering I noticed that all the old red and chrome buggies had been replaced with sleek, solid-red ones. And folks, not only were they beautiful, which they were — a sporty shade of candy-apple red — but the way those buggies handled — well, it was, quite frankly, a dream come true. Sporty suspension. Razor-tight turning radius. Responsive handling. Light and zippy, yet sleek and fast. All in all, an exhilarating driving– er, pushing experience.

I was so stoked that I took a picture. Ahem… two pictures. And did I get some crazy-person looks? Yes, I did. But it was worth it.

Since then, my own neighborhood store has started replacing old buggies with the new ones. Unfortunately, many of the old “bad buggies” still remain, but when I’m lucky enough to get a new one, it makes it that much sweeter. But don’t take my word for it. Go take one for a spin today!

Love on the L.A. Metro

July 8, 2010

Please read the title to the tune of Aerosmith’s “Love in an elevator.” And now that we have that taken care of:

I’ve been reading a self-help book, as I am wont to do, that told me to look for love everywhere I went, and to look for the connections between others and myself, and between others and other otherses. This was very good for me, because lately I’ve been witnessing a lot of hate in the world, and it’s started to get me down in a major way. I’ve gotten so tired of experiencing all the aggression that occurs 1,000 times a second on the freeways, for example, and it all culminated a couple weeks ago when someone put a pre-printed business card on my car that said it hoped I got cancer, because I was parked a little bit over the line in the tiny compact car space that my compact car does not fit into properly. Yes, I will repeat that: Someone went to the trouble of ordering and purchasing business cards that say on the front, “Way to park, asshole.” And on the back, “I hope you get cancer.” It was actually quite a visually appealing card, with a lovely combination of fonts printed on a nice brick-red color. But the point is, feeling that malice directed at me was the straw on the camel’s back of hate that I’d been witnessing, and it made me really, really sad.

So, back to the self-help book. The day after I read the section about looking for love everywhere, it was “one of those mornings” where all forces of the universe were determined to slow me down, and after running to catch the metro, I got there a minute too late, and had to wait, all sweaty-like, for the next one. When I finally got on, a woman using a walker (with difficulty) got on, too. A youngerish woman and a blind man both got up for her to take their seats. (Side note: The question has been raised as to how the blind man knew to get up for her, and my guess is that the youngerish woman said something, or maybe he’s just that good.) Well, the walker woman (henceforth referred to as Walker Woman or WW) took the blind man’s seat and began talking with him and the youngerish woman (YW). When the blind man got off, he said goodbye to YW, and she and WW kept talking. Throughout their conversation, I unabashedly eavesdropped and exchanged eye contact and smiles with both of them at various points. When it was time for me to get off at my stop, I said goodbye to Walker Woman, and Youngerish woman got off there, too. And here comes the best part: Youngerish woman crossed to the other side of the platform to wait for the train going in the opposite direction. She had gone past her stop, and I believe it was out of love, because she didn’t want to prematurely end her conversation with Walker Woman. She wanted to make sure WW was taken care of, and then and only then did she get off and make her way back to where she needed to go.


I’m so glad I missed my train that morning and ended up on the one I ended up on.

That day marked a new chapter for me, one of looking everywhere for love and kindness, and finding it. I make a point to make eye contact, smile at, and talk with more strangers, and I’m making new friends all over town. I still see the hate, and it still bums me out, but now I have something with which to balance it.

I think you should try it, too. We’ll fill the world with love, one person at a time. Then one day, we’ll realize that we don’t see any hate, because there won’t be any.

(Do I sound like a hippy, or what?)