Thursday, February 26, 2009

Supermarket Swept

After completing a respectable amount of work Wednesday morning, Trofie Wife set out to partake in some afternoon marketing. After realizing to my dismay that the bakery with the good whole wheat rolls was now closed on Wednesday afternoons (random), I visited the smaller grocery store in centro. As I walked in, I noticed an uncomfortable emptiness. Each aisle appeared as a minor ghost town, with markedly fewer items on the shelves than usual. Was it inventory day, I wondered? (I’ve definitely been at Trader Joe’s on 14th Street on the day prior to delivery day when the food is nearly all gone, but this occurrence in Arenzano seemed eerily different.) Were rationings kicking in due to the world credit crisis? Cuts in production or ordering? (Even so, my favorite cereal was still on the shelves, so that was at least a relief.) Or was the supermarket closing?? I didn’t notice any formal indication of such a travesty posted at the entryway, but given that my Italian is not up to snuff, perhaps I missed it. Would we now be forced to trek to the huge grocery store on the highway to pick up essentials? What was going on??

After a careful inspection of all aisles (including a long lingering at the unhealthy snack section—sue me), I figured it out. They were installing new shelving throughout the store! All of the missing goods had been dumped in shopping carts and staff members were now slowly arranging them on the shiny yellow shelves, which do appear cleaner and wider, perhaps with room for more interesting food stuffs (yet I still needed to ask for help reaching the lightbulbs...). With my ready access to food and paper goods intact, I paid my bill and headed to the bakery with the good foccacia (yes, it is essential to visit different bakeries for different bready and dolce items).

On another note, yesterday was Ash Wednesday (mercoledì delle Ceneri). Now, we live in Italy and there are a lot of ladies of a certain age around here who one suspects would be into this kind of faith display. But during my outing, I saw not one forehead dabbed with ash or the residue of ashes placed during the morning; there was one false alarm, a middle aged guy whose “ash” turned out to be stubble from his closely-shaved-yet-still-balding head. Trofie Wife is trying to make sense of this seemingly large omission. On the streets and in the schools and offices of New York City, it’s hard to miss the holiday. My Catholic friends would either attend an early mass prior to class/work or if unable to do so then, hit up the church at lunchtime. Maybe the Ligurians are more of an after work crowd? (Though these are the same folks that Martello and I saw duck in and out of Midnight Mass within the space of five minutes... .) Or maybe it’s yet another example of America proving that it is the most fervently religious country in the world, leaving even the hosts of major pilgrimage sites in the dust.

Baci e gelato,

Martello e Trofie Wife 


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