We are geographically blessed when it comes to grocery stores. We live in the opposite of a food desert – we are within easy walking distance of three excellent grocery stores and within a short car ride of about ten more.
The plethora of grocery stores near me has resulted in a complicated optimizing algorithm whenever I set out to procure dinner. Best vegetables and baguettes? DeMartinis. Brown Gravy or anything vaguely British? Draegers. Paneer or Foccacia? Sprouts. Nuts or non-dairy milks? Trader Joes.
But the Safeway – the Safeway has everything. It doesn’t have the best versions of everything, but it’s open later than all the other groceries, and I’m there nearly every day.
I feel like I’m friends with all my local Safeway employees, but I can almost guarantee that feeling is not mutual.
Anyhoo, the last couple of times I have been at the Safeway I have heard a high-pitched noise in the produce section that I assumed came from repairs to the refrigeration or something.
BUT- tonight, after a few cocktails at a friend’s house, I stopped by the Safeway for a carton of milk and late-night potato chips - and the high-pitched sound was still emanating from the produce section, even though there was clearly no one working there.
I was just intoxicated enough to investigate. I found a stock clerk in the produce section and asked, “What’s that noise?”
The clerk looked a little panicked and said “Sorry, no English, only Spanish.”
No problem, I thought, I have been taking Spanish classes for years. However, I could not remember the word for noise, and I’m sure I never knew the word for “high-pitched”.
“¿Que es el grito?” I asked. (“What is the scream?”)
“Es el nubio de los vegetales,” she answered, as she ran away. (“It is the vegetable cloud.”)
“Hmmm,” I thought. And then the noise started up again just as the misting system sprayed the vegetables with water, and I thought, “Aha!! The vegetable cloud!!”
I am pleased to know the source of the noise, but I hope they fix it soon, because it really does sound like the bell peppers are screaming.