March 16, 2009
A few weeks ago, as I was driving to Jared's office, I noticed a pick-up truck parked on the side of the road. There was large hand-painted sign propped on its hood that read: SHRIMP $1 lb.
"Wow," I thought. "Shrimp for a dollar a pound? That's a great deal! I'll have to stop and get some on my way back."
Now you might think it's odd to buy food off the side of the road, but in this neck of the woods it's totally, completely normal. The abnormal thing is when there's an actual human being present to accept your payment--usually you just drop your cash into an empty coffee can, verbally remind God how honest you are, and go on your way.
Since we've moved back to Maine, I've bought all kind of things out of the back of peoples' vehicles. You know...pies, biscuits, lobster, stereo speakers, blueberries, vegetables, my laptop. It's very reminiscent of yesteryear--so damn charming that I can hardly stand it.
On my way back from Jared's, I pulled into the parking lot and was met by a real life fisherman. He seemed to be my age, possibly a little bit intoxicated, and had black rubber boots that went past his knees and up to his thighs. Again, so frickin' picturesque I had to consciously stop myself from singing my order while I preformed a little softshoe.
I rolled down my window, greeted the young man and said, "So, where did the shrimp come from?"
And the fisherman said, "Ehhh, Bristol. Caught'm jus this mahnin."
"Excellent," I replied. "I'll take ten pounds." I know, I know, ten pounds probably seems a bit excessive, but 1) I had a ten dollar bill in my wallet, 2) I was extraordinarily proud of myself for supporting my local economy, and 3) I'm a Mormon--we rarely resist the urge to buy in bulk.
Three minutes later I was smiling like a goon and pulling back onto the state highway with two enormous shopping bags of shrimp. When I got home, I could barely contain myself. I hauled the drippy, muddy bags onto my kitchen table, untied the knots, and found this:
Not exactly what you buy in a convenient ziploc package at WalMart. Not only did those nasty little bastards have eyes, they also had pulses. They were wriggling all over the place.
I picked one up by the tail, examined him closer, and couldn't resist the strong and sudden urge to dry heave. He turned his ugly little head in my direction and had the nerve to touch me with his antennae. "That's it," I announced, "you're going in the garage." So I re-knotted the bag and waited for my husband to get home.
Don't tell me you wouldn't have done the same thing. See the black stuff in its stomach? Yeah, those are eggs.
Jared came home a few hours later and was equally nastified. In fact, if I remember correctly, he dry heaved as well. But we persevered, removed approximately 2,000 heads, and two hours later we had roughly one handful of shrimp to speak of.
I officially hate shrimp.