The scene: I’m standing in line, waiting to buy my Friday night wine, when I hear a voice speak up behind me. “I could really go for some Diet Coke.” There’s no response. Curious if she might be talking to me, I turn around to see a character I can only describe as Carol Channing by way of Long Island. I’m calling her Tovah.
Me: I don’t think they sell Diet Coke here.
Tovah: Why the hell not?
Me: It’s not natural.
Tovah: That can’t be right. (waving to the checkout girl) Excuse me, miss, but where is the Diet Coke?
Checkout Girl: We don’t sell Diet Coke here. It’s not natural.
Checkout Girl: It’s not natural. Everything we sell is natural.
Tovah: What the hell is natural about tofu?(Note: She puts the accent on the second syllable, as if To-Fu were the emperor of some Asian land.)
Me (turning around to Tovah, because I feel she needs assurance): There is absolutely nothing natural about tofu.(A pause.)
Tovah: I could have been famous.(I turn around again and see that she’s looking at Kim Kardashian on the cover of this month’s W magazine.)
Tovah (needing no response to continue her discussion): You don’t need to do anything to be famous today. You don’t have to sing. You don’t have to dance. You don’t need to tell jokes. I was not doing all of these when I looked like her. Tell me — is there anything this Kim Kardashian can do well?
Me: There is one thing.
Tovah: What is that?
Me: You should watch her sex tape.(Tovah looks at me for a few beats like she’s trying to decide whether to slap me. Then…)
Tovah: Oh. Well, I was never good at that. Maybe I should watch the sex tape.End of interaction.
I should really spend more time at Whole Foods.