Two Hands and a Box of Tomatoes | Mark Lindsay

The human race is more connected than ever. Go to a bar on a Friday night and everyone is texting everyone else. The antennae are up. You can contact more people on the planet than ever before. That’s not all. Soon, aliens from distant stars will be texting hot girls in bars. Single men of Planet Earth won’t stand a chance. Already, the girls text one another across town when the guys start to bore them, about five minutes into most conversations. Oddly, the guys don't seem to mind. Maybe that's the problem.

Texting, blogging, surfing, and googling. There are more people and more information at our fingertips than we can handle. I connect with my Facebook friends more than I actually talk to people—you know, face them in real life and listen to their stories, their hopes, wishes, and desires. I'm not complaining. I think the world is ever expanding, constantly getting better. But, sometimes, we need real human contact.

The market is our only hope. That's why I had to go back to the farmer’s market last week. I couldn't stand it anymore. Going to market is one of my few chances these days to connect to real people. And if Safeway were the only place for me to go, well, I'd rather shop online. The life of an artist is a lonely one and sometimes we need people to talk to.

I see the smiles of people at the farmer’s market and compare them to the grimaces at Safeway. There are fewer people at Safeway but we are always bumping into one another. We all have this common, mental wavelength. “Get out of the way,” we grumble to ourselves. “I need to finish shopping and get out of here.”

No one seems to be in a hurry at the farmer’s market. There, you can talk to the people who grew your food, get a recipe, see your friends, take a bite of sheep's-milk cheese. You can smell the air, touch a tomato, notice the flowers in the flower vendor’s hat. I don't see anyone texting either. Mostly, cell phones are away, people are strolling, like they did on the boardwalk at the Jersey Shore when I was a little boy.

I marvel at how readers find me and my blog from around the world. And I feel gratitude for the whole concept of blogging. Our connectedness, even if by glowing computer displays, is making the world a better place. But, when I see young people at a bar texting rather than communicating face-to-face, it makes me sad. When I resort to buying my produce at a corporate entity that crams my brain with canned commercials over its sound system, I feel resigned. So, I have rediscovered the market, where people are people—real live people selling real live produce.