Monday, August 10, 2009

Home of the Brave?

Right: Vegetables? Or Dangerous Implements?

Darwi has blogged about seeing through the myth that America is the Land of the Free, after living here in the USA for six months. Lately I've also noticed people (such as William Gurstelle) pointing out, with concern, that perhaps we're not exactly the Home of the Brave either. We've become what some call a "nanny culture," horribly worried that we'll fall and bump ourselves--or that other people will and we'll be blamed.

Sunday morning I experienced how ridiculously fearful we've become.
bink and I went to a neighborhood Farmers Market where bink bought a big head of cabbage. Afterward we had coffee at a nearby café that caters to an artsy, gender-bending crowd. The place thinks of itself as very cutting edge.

bink said she'd give me half the cabbage, if only we had a knife. So, since the line at the counter was long, I went right up to the kitchen cutaway window and asked the cook if I could use his knife to cut a cabbage in half.

The manager came up to me all aflutter and asked if I was a vendor. No, I said, I just wanted to borrow a knife to cut this cabbage in half--and I held it up and showed her.
Well, her knickers, and her face, really twisted at that.
"Oh, I don't think we can let you use a sharp knife!" she said, just at the moment the cook handed his knife through the window to me, saying, "Please be careful."

I simply turned away from the manager and cut the cabbage in half--no blood was spilled--and handed the knife back to the cook, saying "Bless you."
Really, it felt like he'd taken this huge risk and deserved a blessing. To his credit, he looked a bit chagrined.

The manager had disappeared, perhaps to up the café's insurance policy or to don armor, what with such dangerous customers around. Why, someone might come at her with a raspberry!

I'm not someone who jumps out of planes, but I am philosophically aligned with Gertrude Stein who says, "Considering how dangerous everything is, nothing is really very frightening."
Or maybe it is, but if we don't face down at least some of our fears, we'll have to eat all our cabbages ourselves.

Picture of veg from this recipe for cabbage soup. (It's a weight-loss soup, so I advise adding some butter. Go ahead, sue me!)


Nancy said...

The Monty Python sketch was hilarious, even on paper! Thanks for the link.

I don't remember what I was trying to cut, a long while back, but I was in a McDonalds and asked the cook for a knife. They said there were no knives in the kitchen, they didn't have them. It was inconceivable to me that a kitchen would not have a knife; how did they cut things? Apparently they didn't have to, it all came pre-prepared in plastic. Creepy.

Fresca said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the sketch and now know how to defend yourself against fruits!

Cooking without knives... it is kinda creepy.

Manfred Allseasons said...

Well, you really went through the Valley of Death that morning....

Yet no-one seems concerned about the dangers of cushions, which are everywhere...

Fresca said...

Yes, cushions! And what about the dangers cabbages themselves pose? The public needs to be alerted: You should start a public service campaign, Manfred.

Manfred Allseasons said...

Dont get me started!!!