the execution is the same

Mmmm. Tired and cranky. Fantastic. My girls were both up throughout the night. Maybe I should wait to write this until my coffee kicks in. . . .

We're having thunderstorms today and all I can think of is going out. We need groceries, and while we are out we just might swing by the Salvation Army to peruse their used clothing selection, the Central Library or a fun bookstore I found the other night. Imagine a faded red carpet, black shelves and room to walk. At the back is a casual little cafe that opens to a garden, brilliantly placed in their children's section with a soft place for the kids to sit and read and an old miniature upright piano that invites plunking. Here are some titles I found there the other night that I'll be looking for at the library.

This is New York by E. B. White

Writing to Change the World by Mary Pipher (author of Reviving Ophelia)

Park Slope is the home of the largest volunteer-operated Food Co-op in the country. It's just a couple blocks from my house. It's supposed to be the best grocery shopping in town, loaded with fresh, organic, inexpensive food.

Here's how my Brooklyn travel guide portrays it:

"This place is simply remarkable. An institution. You can't believe it actually functions on 90 percent volunteer labor--but it does, and beautifully. If you want to understand Park Slope, check out the co-op. You can't shop here unless you are one of the more than nine thousand members who belong to this unique institution. And if you do take a tour, expect to hear an erudite conversation about jazz, recipes for jicama-and-orange salad, or the health benefits of chlorella. . . ."

The membership agreement includes each adult volunteering a three-hour shift each month. It sounds like something I would have dreamed of in the past, but I've been keeping my distance ever since we got here. I've been afraid that the subcultural attitude there would be a little, well, righteous is the word that's been stuck in my head.

So yesterday, when we met our new friends at the park I asked my girlfriend if they were members. "Oh, no," she said. "It's all a little too righteous for me, like we're doing more for the environment than you are. The one thing my husband and I cannot stand is righteous indignation. If you want to be into something, great, just don't be a freak about it, and for God's sake, don't preach."

"Yeah," I said. "It's one thing if I ask you about something. . . "

"But if I don't ask you," she says, "I probably don't give a s---." I laughed. Hard.

I told her that we've felt sensitive ourselves, being in recovery from a church-y situation. I'm done with there being an 'in' group and an 'out' group, obligation and superiority. "I know it's not the same," I say.

"Oh, no," she assures me. "The content is different, but the execution is the same."

Amen.

So my plan is to steer clear of the Co-op for now and hang out with her a lot more.