12 September 2008

Saving the World

A friend of mine in Sydney has got me onto the fair-trade chocolate band wagon. Well... when I say onto, what I really mean is ambling alongside the wagon, trying to figure out where it's going. My point is I've taken to deliberately buying fair-trade chocolate over not fair-trade chocolate. And furthermore, I think that's the first time in quite a while I've managed to say "my point is" in the third sentence of a blog post. Usually it comes in somewhere in the third or fourth paragraph, depending on how many irrelevant tangents I've diverted myself onto. Which reminds me, I need to shift the sandwiches from the dining room table to the cabinet. I'm not into statements like "If you eat non fair-trade chocolate, that means you support child slavery, you filthy nazi child-hating elitist backwards homophobic lazy bigoted communist ignoramus!" I've just decided that when I have the choice (which is most of the time), choosing to pay a bit more for chocolate in order to support farmers in difficult circumstances can only be a positive thing.

If all that was completely meaningless to you, you can check out the following links:

Fair trade chocolate
Bandwagon
Cabinet

As an interesting (well...) consequence of this, I've been developing quite a rapport (which is to say flirting (but not actually flirting (well... (this set of parentheses is completely redundant (as are these))))) with the girl who works in the Oxfam shop that I buy my fair-trade chocolate from.

It all started out innocently (well...) enough. I strolled absent-mindedly through the door, and our eyes met for just a moment. Across a deserted shop. The melodious smulch of a George Michael song began to play in the background, and the young shop assistant stepped outside to ask him to stop, as he did not have a busking licence. Meanwhile, I started browsing the chocolate shelf. The assistant returned from admonishing the itinerant crooner and uttered the words that will forever linger in my lonely soul:

"Can I help you, there?"

And so it began. I had a hard time convincing her that the armfuls of chocolate I was buying were not all for me. I was buying supplies for our bible study group. No, really. I felt a little out of place in the Oxfam shop; it's all so clean and earthy (is that a contradiction?) that it makes me fell like my synthetic clothing is somehow polluting the aura of the place. And I don't even know what an aura is. But I reckon Christine does.

Her name, by the way, isn't Christine. Actually I don't know what her name is. We're still just keeping the relationship at the 'haven't actually formally introduced ourselves' level.

So I did what I always do when I'm feeling out of place and unsure of myself; I defaulted to the classical Garry façade persona; goofy, yet strangely compelling; clueless, yet inexplicably knowledgeable; flagrant, yet captivatingly mysterious; ridiculous, yet irresistibly charming; literate, yet somehow unable to stop using semicolons.

It has been said that this persona is actually just me being myself, but I'm not convinced. I'm just not that charming.

And the problem with that approach is that it relies on everything being fresh and at least a little bit unusual. But I have now been back to the shop on a semi-regular basis and it´s becoming dangerously habitual, which means in order to make the façade work, I need to come up with a new (well...) and creative way to be suitably off the wall every time I go in there. My latest effort looked something like this:

Christine: Hello again.
Garry: Hi.
Christine: Looking for more chocolate?
Garry: (looking to throw her off her game from the outset) Well, now that's just a huge assumption. How can you just assume that I'm here for chocolate?
Christine: Are you?
Garry: ... Yes. (moves to the chocolate shelf, but...) "Hey! You've moved it!"
Christine: Yep, it's over here now.
Garry: Right. (grabs some chocolate) Found it. (moves to cash register)
Christine: Is that all?
Garry: That's all for today
Christine: Would you like an environmentally friendly calico shopping bag?
Garry: Nah, that's ok, thanks.
Christine: That's seven eighty-five, please. (Garry proffers his eftpos card) I'm sorry, there's a ten dollar minimum on eftpos
Garry: Right... What have you got that costs two dollars and fifteen cents?
Christine: Our environmentally friendly calico shopping bags cost two dollars fifty each. And you'll get the added satisfaction of knowing you're saving the world.
Garry: With a shopping bag?
Christine: Yes.
Garry: Does it have magical powers?
Christine: No, but if you shop with it, then we won't need to use plastic bags any more.
Garry: (well...) Right... (types in his PIN) You know, I might have been coming in here to buy some babushka dolls, for all you know.
Christine: You could have been. Maybe next time.
Garry: Yeah... ... Well... Have a nice day.
Christine: Bye.

Yeah, it didn't really play out quite the way I had envisioned. I think next time I'm just going to burst in and ask, before she has a chance to mention chocolate, whether she has in stock any of those wooden hand carvings of a Chinese man with a fishing net.

Far from home



Garry with 2 Rs
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