Dangerous Compassions

publicity stunt farmers market complete with beautiful flowers and too many feelings

Yesterday we went to a huge farmers market for kids.  A lot of schools have gardens now, and the kids had tables and were selling stuff.  We bought:

gorgeous flowers

chamomile seeds

a kid-made notecard

a loofah

loofah seeds

two little magnets


Some of the prices were high.  But then the flowers–they were only two bucks.  Some places said “for donation” which is disorienting.

It seemed more like a publicity stunt than a real farmers market.  Lots of self-congratulating and news people interviewing adults.  Few actual buyers like me and Ming–very crowded with kids and some adults who were with them.

Some of the adults seemed like they had never been to a farmers market. That was odd.  Strange prices, haphazardness.

At one table, we were getting two things for donation: sunchokes and a notecard.  We thought five dollars was appropriate, but Ming only had a 20, so we asked for change.

The kid gave us a stack of ones, and we suggested maybe we should get fives instead, so they could keep their ones.  The adult who was watching took over–she seemed in a really bad mood, and it was confusing, like did they want more for their sunchokes and notecard?

I wondered if Ming and I could plant the sunchokes for their flowers.  We grew them a long time ago in Sacramento.  “They’re sunchokes.  They’re like potatoes,” the woman told us, like we were idiots.

I’m thinking, “Yeah, we could eat them, but I’d rather grow the flowers.”  It seemed like she had a lack of creativity, like–here is a thing, you do a specific things with it, and if you do another thing, you lost me.

I saw a lot of that, working at the grading factory.  The kids were asked a question–there was one right answer.  Creativity and approaching life with a fresh attitude was punished.  But that’s kind of the whole point of kids, seeing things in a new way.  And something I hope to have in common with kids.

She must be overworked and underpaid, and I felt sad that she wasn’t getting what she needed and also that others were suffering for it.  She handed me two fives and held up five ones–I was confused, like did she think I shouldn’t have the ones?  Did she think my donation should have been ten dollars, not five?  If so, I wish she would have said that.  It was all confusing and gross.

Someone on the stage below started playing guitar.  I recognized “Fire and Rain” by James Taylor.  It sounded good, but not that appropriate for a kids event.  Sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground.  Some adults in dressup clothes were near him, ignoring him, talking to one another.

Then the musician started playing “Lovesong” by the Cure.  It was a beautiful rendition, and I danced.  I was holding those gorgeous flowers and felt like a bride, in a nice way.

I danced and I wondered if the musician was sad everyone was ignoring him.  Did he see me, up there dancing?  Did I help him have someone to play for?  I sang along.  However far away, I will always love you.  However long I stay, I will always love you.  Whatever words I say, I will always love you.  I will always love you.

I looked up and saw cops on the high roof nearby, surveying the crowd.  It creeped me out, and I assumed they were there to snipe a shooter–they were the Snipers for Good, protecting us with their government guns.  I felt really sick, like who invited them, and I got the feeling that just by noticing them, I was doing something wrong.  I was sorry I’d looked up.

Yes, protecting kids is serious business, but rather than protect them from everyday common threats like being abused by their family members or molested by the neighbor, we should funnel bazillions of dollars toward cops and bulletproof backpacks.  I have feelings about that!

There were oak trees, and the acorns they dropped were very round, almost spherical, very pretty.  I asked Ming to choose one for me.  Then I realized they could be good for emotional first aid kits.  I asked for a few more and put them in my colorful pouch Mom crocheted me.

I couldn’t look at everything.  It was emotional sometimes when kids would try to sell me something–I knew I was affecting their feelings.  Not like I was upsetting them, exactly, by not buying something, but from tabling at zine fests, I know how if can feel to put your soul into your work, then have it evaluated then dismissed.

I remembered I’d offered veg to a friend.  I checked my phone and saw he said “whatever’s cheap and good” and I tried to think what I’d seen cheap and good.  The flowers were cheap and good.  So Ming bought another bouquet.  This one was smaller.

Yesterday was weird and intense at times.  I did too much–the insurance info thing at a YMCA, getting 75 cent vegan hotdogs at IKEA as we were right there for Ming’s doctors appointment.  Talking and thinking about a difficult dramatic situation a friend told me about.

I can hear the neighbors yelling at one another, and it makes me uncomfortable like I need to go to another part of the house where I can’t hear them.

Now it’s windy–the windchimes are jangling outside.  Ming washed me a few grapes–they are perfect.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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