The kind folks who work at Local Harvest Grocery and the café across the street are accustomed to seeing us in various states of disrepair. These places are mere blocks away from our house, and we have come to treat them of extensions of our home. When we roll in to grab a loaf of day-old bread for French toast, in our pajamas, with yesterday's mascara smeared under our eyes, they politely avoid staring at our unwashed Phil Spector-style hair.
Sporting the same look at the nearby 7-Eleven, we'd handily win the prize for Most Pulled Together, a regular pillar of civility. Local Harvest Grocery is Bizarro World 7-Eleven. A reflection, a photo negative. One is all about vice: lottery tickets, cigarettes, junk food, booze; the other, virtue: organic, local, healthy. We move back and forth between these worlds, claiming neither.
This morning we are fresh as a daisy -- a rotting, bown-petaled daisy sitting in a vase of stagnant, slimy water. At the bustling café, among the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Sunday brunchers, we are getting breakfast, to-go. The Chorizo Pot Pie is serenading us with a siren song, but Morning Self recognizes that this would just add insult to injury. Adding insult to injury is Nighttime Self's chief occupation, but she is gone now, leaving only suffering in her wake.
We are the frail and bruised Bruce Banner, the remorseful Dr. Jekyll. We are the Beast, and the other patrons are looking at us and recoiling in horror. With no where to stand while we wait in the tiny, crowded space, we are constantly trying to move out of someone's way while trying to avoid knocking something over.
We scurry home with our provisions, including a bottle of G.T.'s Organic Raw Kombucha, our feeble attempt at undoing the damage that was inflicted last night. Kombucha is Local Harvest's answer to 7-Eleven's energy drinks, its carbonation a natural byproduct of fermentation, its active ingredient living cultures, like those in yogurt, instead of stimulants. The label promotes enzymes, probiotics and detoxifiers, which it claims aid (among other things) digestion, immune system, liver function, body alkalinity and cell integrity. (Asterisked with the disclaimer, "These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.)
The flavor we have selected, mysteriously titled Botanic No. 7, offers to "Cleanse your system and calm your nerves with Hibiscus, Orange Peel, Chamomile and Fresh-Pressed Ginger." We are hard-pressed to make out any of those flavors, save for a hint of ginger, over the beverage's sharp, acidic tang. It doesn't taste bad, exactly, but strange, something like apple cider that has sat in the fridge too long.
Glug, glug, glug, it goes down. In the realm of fiction, the transition would be instantaneous, total. No such luck. If there is any improvement in our situation, it is incremental. In this reality, justice is meted out with an even hand. The scales must be balanced. As soaring as love is, that's how crushing the broken heart. The more arduous the work, the more satisfying the rest. The longer the anticipation, the sweeter the reward. Debauchery is easy, penance is hard.
Local Harvest Cafe & Catering 3137 Morganford Road 314-772-8815