To the Woman Who Pushed In Front of Me at the Avocado Stand


by Anna Mantzaris


First of all, I understand! These are not just any avocados. Forget the Hass, with its sad, pimply no-one-wants-to-go-to-prom teenage skin, or the pedestrian softball-shaped Reed that just screams boring. These are organic ‘Sunshine’ avies (the adorable nickname you used!), voluptuous and smooth, filled with a nutty, decadent meat that does not compare. After pushing your hand-woven basket that I imagine you were thrilled to find on your three-week trip to Marrakech (maybe your Babymoon?) into my left side and swiping me with your fuchsia-color windbreaker-clad arm, I got the picture: You needed these avocados FAST. Who was I to stop you? And I very much appreciated that you explained why you needed the climacteric fruit a.s.a.p. ‘These are the only avies my son will eat.’ Of course you couldn’t wait until I plopped my little gathering of three semi-ripe on the scale and took out my wrinkled $5 bill. You had places to go. People to see. Avocados to eat.

And let’s face it, my uninspired idea to simply consume the avocados sliced, or maybe tossed into a sad little salad of romaine and cucumber, could not compare with what I bet were your grand plans – freshly mashed guac with lobster chunks and just-snipped dill, or a perfectly smooth and chilled dinner-party soup laced with home-grown fresh garlic and topped with a crouton made from cruelty-free yeast – sure to wow your guests who are also go-getters, people who aren’t afraid to fight for their heirloom tomatoes and free-range squab. The kind of folks to get the last block of Gruyère.

But what I really admired was the way you stood front and center of the patient farmer and ate not one, not two, but all three of the remaining sample slices. Popping each one in your mouth as if it were your birthright. Your magic ‘pills’ that allow you to continue through your day like the urban panther you’ve become.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I initially mistook the slow, small smirk you gave me as you turned on your heels to leave as an apologetic smile. ‘She’s sorry!’ I thought to myself. ‘No big deal!’ But no. As I toted home my crinkled little brown bag that had begun to tear, I realized I was mistaken. You weren’t making amends for a temporary lapse in social skills. You weren’t asking for forgiveness. It was a look of satisfaction that said, ‘You – who apologizes when someone steps on your foot, with your plain brown hair and less-than-average height, who came here with that sweet man in front of the bread stand, smiling and patiently waiting to buy a loaf of pumpernickel, you who is underpaid but always over tips, who would rather wear an ill-fitting sweater than return it to show how much you liked it as a gift – will always be behind me.’


Anna Mantzaris is a San Francisco-based writer and editor. Her work has appeared in publications including McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Cortland Review and The Lascaux Review.


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2 thoughts on “To the Woman Who Pushed In Front of Me at the Avocado Stand

  1. Marie Martin says:

    This is so so great. I love the author’s use of imagery and the ending. I’ve been there!

  2. Such a cynical, but funny piece. The self-reflection at the end was especially good.

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