Tuesday, October 23, 2012
You're looking at the tail end of our tomato crop -- the hard little tomatoes that will probably never mature, still hanging on the vine like green gumballs. I've left them to grow and ripen as long as possible, but the process is pretty much at a standstill. I guess it's just too chilly. My prediction is that they will become mulch.
This is the last batch I actually picked, and have you ever seen a sadder clutch of tomatoes in your life? I thought I'd try ripening them on our windowsill, so there they lie, battered and scarred after weeks of wind knocking them against our balcony railing. I'm trying to decide whether I would ever want to eat them. They might be better off as mulch, too.
As much as I like autumn, I can appreciate its melancholy reputation. Who couldn't, looking at tomatoes like that? And the tomato plants have inexplicably put forth a few more tiny yellow flowers, like they're not quite through. I feel like telling them, relax. It's over.
As long as we're talking about sad and pathetic, here is the saddest store in our neighborhood. It's right up by Notting Hill Gate, and it never looks better than this. It doesn't even have a name. I call it the Skank Store, and yes, I have been known to get a liter of milk there from time to time, when everything else is closed.
The Moroccans have a great word for poor, pathetic people or things: "miskeen." That is a miskeen store, and our tomatoes are miskeen, too. No two ways about it.
Yesterday was damp and gray. I walked up to Notting Hill Gate to buy some razors (not at the Skank Store) and a man stopped me and asked for directions to Victoria Gardens. I'd never heard of Victoria Gardens, so I pulled up a map on my iPhone. We scrutinized the map and couldn't find it anywhere. "Well, I know it exists, because I work there," said the man.
I resisted asking him why he needed directions to his place of business. It seemed a bit fishy, but he did not try to sell me a ring. Maybe he'd just spent too long at the pub. Eventually we determined that he was headed in the wrong direction entirely. He walked off disconsolately, carrying his briefcase into the mist.