[From 22 February 2010]
Ryan and I have come to an understanding on the subject of gift flowers. He’s into them, insofar as he enjoys flowers in general. Me, I like them in the wild, and in other people’s gardens or homes…but I told him if he’s ever thinking of getting me flowers, he can offer a bouquet of kale, instead. Now that would set my heart aflutter.
Our little inside joke came to mind Saturday morning as two friends and I were drinking in the Alemany farmers’ market (best show in town, far as I’ve seen). Small, tight brussels sprouts glowing like alabaster; giant purple-and-green sugar cane stalks; heaps of bright, cartoon-shaped carrots — well, an inventory isn’t the point. Let’s call it heaven for shorthand. (Especially given the row of prepared food vendors, including a lovely older lady at the helm of a large pupusa stand.)
So I’m browsing and reveling, already saddled with a heavy shoulder bag of asparagus, beets, and all manner of Brassica oleracea (broccoli, cauliflower, b-sprouts, and my beloved lacinato kale), when we come upon some buckets of fresh flowers. I picked up these beautiful tulips to give to Ryan.
Feeling cheerful and rather delighted with the low-risk gender role reversal, I parted ways with my friends and boarded the bus home to downtown SF, where Ryan and I planned to meet up on Market Street. A fellow rider — gaunt with thick bangs and a charming toothless smile — complimented my kale and flowers, volunteering that she would actually prefer the former to the latter. I was in good company.
When I arrived at 8th and Market and settled against a wall to wait for Ryan, I discovered another perk to the gender bending.
A much older man walked straight up to me, staring intensely. He looked a bit off. Started talkin all this about Do I want to spend some time, and What am I up to. I smiled and said, “I’m waiting for my boyfriend, to give him these.” It wasn’t exactly a brush-off or an evasion tactic — though, like many people, I sometimes have to use those with aggressive men. Here, I was simply relating to the situation, with more warmth than irritation.
The man glanced down at the flowers, mumbled a goodbye, and strode off toward 9th.
When Ryan did arrive, even though I handed him the tulips, he assumed I’d just bought them to dress up my own bedroom. Took him a while to realize that they were for him.
And the rest of the morning we spent cooking kale.