Posted by: pendrops | April 14, 2007

tote bags and tofurky


I am weird. That was brought to my attention yet again while checking out at Publix this morning.

“Um, uh, well, I guess that’s okay,” the cashier replied when I handed her two canvas tote bags and asked that she use them to bag my groceries.

“Geez, I’m glad it’s still a free country and we can use canvas bags at the store if we want,” was the smart-ass response that immediately came to mind. Instead, I kindly said, “I just have so many of your plastic bags at home…I need to cut back.” I said this partly as apology, partly as explanation, and partly as an attempt to keep the strained exchange light and pleasant.

My real motivation for tote bag usage is to recycle. But that’s not normal, so I didn’t try to get into it with the bleary-eyed check-out lady. At least not this rainy Saturday morning.

A second later, I was confronted again with my weirdness as I pulled out my cash envelope, the one I use to pay for groceries. The man behind me sighed, held his debit card in my line of vision, and set his cereal and milk down in a huff as the cashier struggled to count the change back to me.

“I suppose people don’t really use this stuff anymore,” I said, returning the paper and coin currency to my envelope. She hardly cracked a smile. My un-normal-ness had gotten her day off to a rotten start.

It’s tough being weird in a normal world, partly because people seem at times to look on you with malice and intent to harm. (Exhibit A, cashier chick; Exhibit B, dude in line behind me.) At the very least, they look at you funny. When I recently told some women friends that I use lemon juice and cayenne pepper to stave off the relentless Williamson County ants, all I got were blank stares and the sound of cricket chirps in the background. (I swear, I’m not making up that part about the crickets.)

And don’t even get me started on my avoidance of all wheat and dairy products. (I don’t eat refined sugar or peanuts either, but that’s way too weird to mention…so I don’t…except here at pendrops, where I am loved and accepted for the soy-milk-drinking, tofu-eating, granola-lover that I am.)

But back to wheat and dairy. When I tell people I do not and cannot eat wheat or dairy, they usually scrunch up their noses, cock their heads and say, “You don’t eat meat and what else?” I proceed to explain that, no, I am not vegan or vegetarian nor do I think moo-cows have a spirit. It actually boils down to gas. When I eat wheat and dairy, that’s what I get…and lots of it. And who wants to be around a gal who’s bloated and pooting all the time? Exactly…no one. (Trust me, you want me to stay away from wheat and dairy.)

But I digress…

Bottom line, it’s tough being weird. But not just because of the funny looks or the constant explanations. It’s hard because I find myself wanting to run away after these episodes. To find that happy place where I’m not considered odd, eccentric, quirky. (For me, I’m thinking this place is northern California or Oregon. Pretty much any place on the West Coast, where it’s perfectly normal to be weird, especially for we tote-bag-carrying, goat-cheese-eating, lemon-juice-sprinkling types.)

But, if I went there, I wouldn’t be weird anymore. And what’s the point in that? We need weird people. All kinds of weird people. Weird people who do all sorts of things way outside the box. Weird people who disrupt our notions of what life and living are really all about. Weird people who go way off the weirdness chart. Really weird people…totally like you. (C’mon, I know I’m not the only one who loves a good Tofurky sandwich and uses Japanese beautyberry plant to repel mosquitoes!)



  1. You left one out………..not using a microwave. And the gas thing doesn’t come from wheat and dairy, you get that from me:-)

  2. You are not alone dear friend and your “weirdness” is why I love you!

    I too have received weird looks and comments on my canvas tote bags when shopping anyplace other than Wild Oats. However I have found when I use the “trendy” canvas tote I get compliments and “where did you get that?” type questions. Crazy how so many people are concerned about the environment yet when those of us try to do something about it we are labled tree huggers, granola or just weird!

    Oh and in regards to ants, we found that grits work great! : ) Cheap too!

  3. And don’t forget Sarah’s crazy diet restrictions… she’s not gas-y, just cranky, sleepy, itchy, and hivey when she gets into wheat, refined sugar, or even fruit though she practically lives off of peanut butter and cheese/cream/butter

  4. I know I get a Deer in the Headlight look when the sacker asks Paper or Plastic? I say paper and he has to unpack what he has already put in the plastic. I like to mix things up with folks, it creates new brain paths for them 🙂

  5. FYI – I heard on the news a while back that the city of San Francisco is banning the use of all plastic bags. You’re so ahead of the curve! I just keep wondering if we’ve saved enough trees to go back to all paper bags because that was the purpose of plastic to begin with….I guess the environmentalists want us to go back to the Little House on the Praire days when Ma carried her basket to the store. That must be where you learned this tote bag concept because you know I love plastic bags!

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