The Line- Manners, Accents & More

There is a neighborhood supermarket that is populated by what can be described as an eclectic potpourri of people and personalities. It includes Israelis, Armenians, Persians, Blacks, Whites, Jews of all stripes and people I couldn’t begin to categorize, not that I’d label people.

I am not a fan of labels unless it is the plain wrap. I am sure that many of you have noticed that when you go to pick up a bottle of drug XYZ there are always two brands, the namebrand and the storebrand. Aside from fancy packaging the only significant difference I have noticed is the $3.98 difference in price between the two.

Have you ever noticed that among there are multiple accents among the English speakers (American, UK, Irish, Australians) until they start singing. Almost without exception those accents disappear when people sing. I don’t know why that is but I do know that I find that to be pretty cool.

But back to the market. One of the reasons that this market attracts such a diverse collection of people is that it offers a decent selection of ethnic foods/spices which is something that I find to be attractive. I love walking into a place that smells a little bit like Machane Yehuda.
Now I should mention that this particular market that I am referring to is not an open air market, but it has that kind of feel to it.

One of the other things that it has in spades is a large number of people who are unfamiliar with the concept of a line, or maybe I am not as familiar with their concept of a line.

I am not daunted or intimidated by having people push carts into me or bump me so that they can squeeze the Charmin. At my size it takes a larger person to make me notice that I am being pushed or bumped. But what I do notice are the people who place three or four items on the belt by the cashier and then take off to go acquire more items.

Their idea is to use the canned peas and two soda bottles to save their place while they shop. I can appreciate their desire to make the most of their time and avoid waiting for the person in front of them to pay. After all half of the yahoos in line don’t bother to take out their wallet until they are actually at the register. Why prepare to pay it is only time.

But the thing is that I consider my time to be valuable too and I am not willing to allow people to use anything besides a human body to hold their place in line, not on line, in line. Some people have been miffed with my unwillingness to allow them to use this little tactic.

Just last week a woman muttered something beneath her breath that sounded an awful lot like Ben Zonah. You should have seen the look on her face when I repeated her words in English and then swore back in Hebrew. I hadn’t expected to respond this way, but I was overtired and I just reacted.

That raises a tangential point about Los Angeles, I love the diversity here. There is something so cosmopolitan, so worldly about it. It is nice to walk outside and not be stuck in a cookie cutter world.

Anyway, I am rambling now so I’ll just end this here. Much more to come tomorrow.

Lailah tov from LA, I am out for now.

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  1. PsychoToddler August 10, 2005 at 5:53 pm

    I can live with that.

  2. Jack's Shack August 10, 2005 at 3:24 pm

    It is cool to run back for a forgotten item provided you ask first, otherwise your need for produce must wait.

  3. PsychoToddler August 10, 2005 at 3:18 pm

    I couldn’t agree with you more about the line bit. However, I will allow an exception if somebody has been standing in front of me for a long time and suddenly realizes she forgot some zucchini and runs to get some.

    A quick surgical strike is ok. Anything else is just obnoxious.

    Oh and singing is basically acting. you affect an accent. Sometimes it’s american, but other times not.

  4. Jack's Shack August 10, 2005 at 3:06 pm


    For the most part I am relatively tolerant of much of this, but like everyone else I do have lines that you cannot cross. 😉

  5. dorothy rothschild August 10, 2005 at 2:41 pm

    Dude, you have just described every single shopping trip, from full-service grocery store to corner bodega, that I’ve ever had in my six years in NYC. The shoving and pushing. The putting two or three things on the belt or counter and then continuing to shop. Old country ways, I guess, based on experiences shopping at groceries in Germany and Poland. Sure is infuriating, though.

  6. Jack's Shack August 10, 2005 at 1:33 pm


    It is good to know that there is at least one other person here who loves to warble as much as I. 🙂


    I used to make my mother crazy because I asked a million different times about the magic accents and was never satisfied.


    The look on her face was exquisite. Really not sure why she was so surprised you can’t walk through the store without hearing people speaking Hebrew.


    It would be great to see a day with no forbidden fruit. That is an admirable and worthy goal.

  7. Cindra August 10, 2005 at 12:52 pm

    I’m not sure where the singing “blurt” came in, but it looks like it tickled everybody else like it did me. Treppenwitz – that is too funny…loovely.
    Love that market! I think when you go there you have to take the bad with the good. What you love is the diversity and with diversity you get all the different personalities. I think it sounds like a great place to take a camera.
    Wish I had been there to snap a shot when you swore at her… but I would have been to busy laughing… no, probably not, you would have had to explain to me later what you were saying.

  8. Z August 10, 2005 at 11:35 am

    Who would have ever taken Robert Plant as English when he sang? I wouldn’t. And AC/DC Aussies? No way!

  9. treppenwitz August 10, 2005 at 8:12 am

    Almost without exception those accents disappear when people sing.

    Mrs. Brown you’ve got a looovely daughter…


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