Sunday, August 19, 2012

One-dollar eggplant

Back home means back to driving. Somehow the month-long break helped - I now imagine that driving was just something I used to do, and it no longer feels weird when I'm the one behind the wheel. That said, there are some basics I still need to work on. Things like changing lanes and parallel parking - it's not that they're difficult, but they never come up on the usual routes, and there's no obvious place to practice them. What I need at this point are lessons, but I *think* I've made it past the initial psychological hurdle.

But having a car is going to change living here tremendously, as we learned today, doing the kind of stuff that wouldn't quite make sense with the car-sharing car, but once a car is just there, why not?

First was the Trenton Farmer's Market. I'd heard that this was the best one around (from a woman who's worked in agriculture, no less) and that would be the understatement of the century. Instead of teensy bouquets of kale for $3, as at the one in town, or a bit more selection but still high prices, as in West Windsor, this place had a ton of fruits and vegetables, this even on a Sunday when many stands were closed, and I'm quite sure I've never seen prices this low anywhere, farmers market or supermarket. All for the exact same New Jersey farm produce as is sold in Princeton or New York. A giant bunch of great-looking basil for $1. A pint of little fancy yellow tomatoes for $2.50. The most gorgeous (and enormous) eggplant I'd ever seen, $1. What it lacks - and I'm not sure it's a problem, is that market-experience feel, with seating, maybe a hipster bluegrass band, some earnest liberal-arts grads who make their own vegan cheese. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy that sort of thing as well, but for stocking up on produce, no-frills has a lot going for it.

Next was the Mercer County Park dog run. A dog run, nearby! Well, nearby by car. Bisou went with the under-35-lbs set, which today was dominated by real lap-dog types that did not want to bound around quite as much as she did, but she managed to bound a bit all the same. The space was clean and huge. This being Princeton, there is also a private, members-only dog run in the area, but it's unclear what the advantage would be there, other than that it keeps out the riff-raff. I believe that makes us the riff-raff in question.

So basically, the unthinkable expenditure that was this car has made it possible to do non-posh things. Living within biking distance of only that which is posh, that hadn't been an option. Cheapness-wise, I'm not sure we come out ahead, but that is one impressive one-dollar eggplant.


Withywindle said...

So basically, the unthinkable expenditure that was this car has made it possible to do non-posh things.

This explains a remarkable amount about America.

(Smile! You're a generalizable anecdote.)

Phoebe said...

This is something I'd always wondered about. It's supposed to be so expensive to live in New York, and it certainly is per square foot of living space. But once you add up the cost of gas, car insurance, the car itself and its maintenance, parking, etc., things do look different.