Becoming Communist

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These past few days have been weirdly Communist-centric for me. First, my book that’s coming out in October. Then there’s the movie I’m watching and the articles I’m editing, Fall of Communism and another one you’ll get to see soon. And then this bizarre conversation about Jews and Communism, and was it nearly as bad as the Holocaust? — and are you allowed to say anything is nearly as bad as the Holocaust? — and how we managed to flee.

And then, last night, I entered the lion’s den.

The Park Slope Food Co-Op is virtually the only place in our neighborhood to buy organic food. My wife’s been a member for a few months, but I’ve been avoiding joining, in part because I thought it was a fad, but also because my friend Saul was a member and then it started taking up his whole life, and then he started only dating Co-Op members…and, as you might imagine, he started having to avoid the Co-Op after a few too many of those incidents.

So I was apprehensive. My apprehensiveness was not lessened when the woman conducting our orientation session was both bouncy and enthusiastic at the same time as being oddly militaristic. I suppose it’s not contradictory — like a marching song, at any rate — but she was like “Good! You’re here for orientation! It will start! In one minute!”

It really did. One minute later, before I could check if the potato chip bowl RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME had a kosher mark, she shut the door (and locked it) and we were launched, head-on, into a 2-hour multimedia presentation of what was supposed to be instructional videos but actually seemed a lot more like a proclamation that Co-Op food was BETTER! and CHEAPER! and MORE SUSTAINABLY FARMED! than normal food (true…especially our local Associated Market. Yeech.) and that Co-Op people were FRIENDLIER! and HOTTER! and MORE INTERESTING!, so much so that they even publish their own newspaper. The whole time, I felt slightly antagonized — hey, try to put a punk-rock kid of any age in a classroom, he’ll feel a little claustrophobic — but when we went on the facilities tour, and all 15 or so of us walked in a line, I whispered to the dude in front of me (an amiable, flavor-savor-facial-haired guy in an Aesop Rock shirt) that it felt like Mr. Rodger’s Neighborhood, and he burst out laughing. Whoo. Safe.

Posted on August 5, 2008

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