Diary Entry

“What are you looking for, Mama?” Summer Diary, continued

A man’s voice interrupts my reverie with the inquiry, as I stand surveying the salad on offer at the local West Side Market. Proof that I’m back in the city from vacation, back to grocery shopping. I can’t bring myself to sign on to Fresh Direct, and besides, I like to pick my own produce.

What am I looking for? I refrain from my knee-jerk reaction―“I’m not your Mama,” or anyone else’s for that matter―instead, I answer the employee in the vegetable aisle, who is only trying to be helpful, as if I were a normal person, and not an Upper West Side crazy lady (though I believe I’m in the zone). I skip the rant and answer the question. The frisee I’m looking for is not on the counter because it’s not in the store. It hasn’t sold well. I shake my head in disbelief. The man shrugs. What can you do, he seems to be suggesting. People don’t know what’s good. “Come back, Tuesday,” he says. I will, I say, since frisee is my favorite kind of greens.

marche263

When I was newly married (the first time), and shopping in France, I always hoped the vegetable seller would notice my ring and call me Madame and not Mademoiselle. Sometimes he did. Would Madame like a little parsley to go with the lettuce, she would. Does Madame know how to make a vinaigrette? She does, but do tell her again, if that means she’s really Madame.
Now, all these years later, I’d give a lot to hear Mademoiselle again, but alas, Mama, c’est moi.


Nancy K. Miller. Diary

Welcome. Some musings on my current preoccupations with the worlds of illness and the worlds of books: the vicissitudes of living with cancer and the need, for now, to launch (a k a promote) my new memoir, My Brilliant Friends: Our Lives in Feminism. Naturally, I inhabit both spaces, which makes for a strangely bifurcated, though far from boring, existence. Click to view both Feminist Friendship Archive and My Metastatic Life projects.

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