Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Things Change. Of Panera and UPS, People and ATMs and Divine Peaches

Things change. My Wednesday mornings are changing, after seven delighting years.

Today is my last Wednesday morning to rise early and, come pelting rain or warmest sunshine, pick-up our weekly carton of freshly farmed organic produce from a small, refrigerated truck in the Big Lots parking lot.

Today is my last morning to chat with Tammy, the pastor's wife who distributes produce as a second job and personal ministry. She and her husband planted a new church a couple years ago in San Juan Capistrano.  Her husband and parents substitute for her when she's ill or visiting her sister. 

Today is my last morning to make small talk with Juan, the truck driver and family farmer who packs the company truck the night before, sleeps a few hours, then drives nearly 300 miles each way on Wednesdays to deliver the latest crops to Placentia and Irvine. Juan's parents are buried in the same country cemetery as my grandparents, who also farmed in the San Joaquin Valley.

Today is my last morning to amiably chat with others picking up their weekly farming allotment.  Others also clad in hastily pulled-on clothes and barely combed hair, nursing the day's first cup of coffee. My last morning to smile at and greet the plainly garbed black woman who smiles shyly, but never speaks. My last morning to observe the perfectly-coiffed women in spandex leggings, pricey running shoes, and gigantic SUVs as they gossip about the latest church doings. My last morning to admire from afar the 70-something couple who buy a large produce carton each week, to distribute to homeless shelters. My last morning to exchange cooking tips for last week's produce. (Try tossing broccoli with olive oil and kosher salt, then roasting for 20 minutes.  My husband and son can't get enough. Those divine peaches...those grapes! ) 

Today is my last morning for my seven-year post-produce ritual.  Driving past a Christmas tree farm and miles of glinty-green soccer fields to Panera Bread for a spinach-laden breakfast sandwich and more coffee.  Watching suited real estate agents on Panera's front patio listening to a marketing guru and laboring to impress each other. 

Enjoying my veggie sandwich at the local park. Watching ducks, assorted geese, and a lone egret or two. Watching young mothers push strollers. Watching retired couples stroll in unison. Watching dogs being walked, carried, and also pushed in strollers. Watching a clutch of elderly men sail elaborate model boats in the lake. 

Sipping coffee while meditating on trees and sky and reflective water. While praying to our God. While listening to soft music. While admittedly checking my phone. 

But things change. Our carton of organic produce will be delivered by UPS, starting after Thanksgiving. No more need for contact with any of these people. No need to leave my home.

This morning, Wells Fargo's ATM was the first to wish me a happy birthday, one week in advance. My phone assistant, the one I didn't ask for, wants me to ask questions of her.  But I can't think of any questions that I can't answer using my own resources. I certainly don't need an ordering assistant. I order too much stuff already. 

We used to chuckle when my father-in-law refused to use a debit card or ATM machine for years. He said he wanted to walk into a bank, and talk to a teller who knows him. He wanted human contact.  He wanted to be known. I understand that impulse. 

Things change, often for the best.  But these changes that remove and replace human connection, I don't think they're for the best. 

But still, things change and ebb and flow.That's modern life, I guess. I deeply miss the people and people-watching that efficient technology has replaced in my life.