This afternoon

I was just shopping in Whole Foods.
Yeah, I know, yuppie haven and all.
But sometimes I am not up to trying to park at the madhouse known asBerkeley Bowl.
(And I love Berkeley Bowl, my god, a place with a dozen kinds of peaches.)
But Whole Foods is okay, and it is actually cheaper for some things that the other local grocery.
Which gives you a notion of how expensive stuff is around here.

So I was there trying to think what to make for dinner, and picking up bread for Tom
And reading bread labels only to discover that all the breads I like are salty
(who knew)
When I realized that the lady next to me was standing there weeping.

Now I live in southside Berkeley, commonly known as "the open ward," so this in itself wasn't actually odd.
But she was also trying to talk on her cell phone, and just breaking down, so instead of doing the normal don't-meet-their-eyes and escape thing, I made eye contact and looked sympathetic.
Turns out she lost her job, is living in her car, and was just losing it there for a moment.
Nice looking, older lady.
Used to be in real estate.
After a while her friend showed up, and they went off.
What's she doing tonight?
I dunno.

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17 responses to this post.

  1. That makes me so sad.And I just can't believe Whole Foods is the cheaper grocery in your neighborhood. I shudder to think what food bills must be like there!

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  2. Whole Foods?! :O (hehe, j/k. Kinda. I'm still mad at them for buying out Wild Oats [a CO company], but more mad at Wild Oats for selling out.) What you found out really put things into perspective, huh? I read that and went "wow". It's too bad though..

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  3. oh my sympathies to the lady.

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  4. it helps that my kid and spouse are pretty much vegetarians…but yes, yikes.

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  5. Yes, I'm realizing this is just the person I saw.
    and just the tip of the iceberg.

    There was an article in the LA times about people living in their
    cars…some guy has set up overnight use of parking lots with water and security for women
    and families doing this..he's got four lots now, and a waiting list.

    Reply

  6. for whom are your comments? (friendly reminder, using the reply key sends an e-mail alert to your commenter)

    Reply

  7. ack…(I got up early today…slightly fuzzy now)

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  8. i feel the same way – i used to think Trader Joe's was a bit overpriced until I moved to NYC. Now it is the cheapest supermarket around. Wholefoods is still a bit high end for me.

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  9. Different topic, but this Saturday I found a little old lady who was really upset and standing around in the middle of the street (the part where there are cars and you're not supposed to stand around.) So I said hello and chatted with her for a bit and got her to walk onto the sidewalk instead… the bus had driven past her twice without picking her up and she had gotten up so early to go shopping and now the whole day was ruined and she couldn't go shopping. That bus only goes once an hour and it was cold out. She looked cold and tired and I didn't want to just leave her standing in the middle of the road there because I wasn't quite sure she could figure things out for herself… So I walked her up to the nearest building where she could get inside, sit down and have somebody call a cab. It took us forever because she wasn't walking very well, and she told me she had cancer everywhere and shouldn't go out alone really…. and she kept veering off the sidewalk onto the grass or the street. She ended up holding my hand… – The building I took her to was the nursing home and she said she might just stay there if she could… I left her there, but I saw her wandering around in the street again later in the day, and I keep wondering if she's all right. What do you do with stray little old ladies? You can't just take them home or drag them off to the little-old-lady pound… there ought to be some nice and happy place you could take them where they'd be safe.

    Reply

  10. That's hard.If she was still out after the crowds went away, probably the police would eventually take her home.That happened to my aunt a few times.Sigh.

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  11. things like this make me believe that goodness usually prevails in people, when presented with the opportunity. 🙂

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  12. This is so sad. The place where the rubber meets the road and leaves tread marks across the backs of citizens when it comes to the failed US economic policies. The unfortunate real estate lady was probably hungry and overwhelmed at the cost of the simple luxury of eating. I'm so, so glad her friend showed up to help. This breaks my heart. As they say, but for the grace of God go I….

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  13. Another very sad story, Drude. Is there a social service agency that you could call if you see this lady wandering around again? Perhaps she was living on her own not long ago and may have had a "mini stroke" which left her confused and unable to figure things out. I hope she's safe. This break my heart too.

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  14. My heart goes out to her. These small and intimate dramas play out every day without our awareness. It makes me grateful and full of compassion for her. I hope she survives okay.

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  15. Heartbreaking. Bad as it was, she had a car. There are probably 10 of her out there, who don't. What a messed up world. They're still airing tv shows about flippping houses– installing superfancy faucets and 14 bathrooms and 12 game rooms and charging a a gazillion dollars and there are people who can pay for this stuff. And yet, there are people who live in their cars. More and more of them.Sux.I've never been to Whole Foods…..

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  16. Wow. I am so bummed. This is such a sad story. And it is being repeated over and over all over the country. World. And the wandering little old ladies. Sigh. Life is such a big suckfest. My mom just now called about the two year old killed in Denver by gunfire. It was the nephew of my sister's good friend. I am sick.

    Reply

  17. last year there was a robbery at a gas station in my old neighborhood.actually a classier area than this one.the robbers let off a wild shot.it hit a little kid having a piano lesson down the block.he'll never walk again.this is why I rarely watch the local news.(hiding much? well, actually, yes.)

    Reply

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