The Sour Cream Incident

4 May

I paced up and down the dairy section of Topps Supermarket in search for sour cream.  Knowing that dairy products in Thailand make for slim pickings, I wasn’t necessarily expecting to find it, but still had a raging hope that the fermented pearl of lactic goodness would be hiding somewhere among the million other weird products. I had already decided that it would be there, especially after drawing up a beautiful schema in my head for why I needed sour cream that evening: you see — I was meditating at home earlier that day, and then my still mind decided to feed itself the psychological equivalent of heroin – it injected my heart with DESIRE.  I induced a tantalizing lust to bake my own fatty, unwholesome, scrumptious balls of grease.  And to validate this desire, I forced my mind into hard labor – I quickly devised a romantic scene from childhood of my grandmother, Luba teaching me how to make “ponchiki” – Russian doughnuts.  Then we would smother the sizzling doughnuts with spoonfuls of sour cream and sweet clouds of dusty powdered sugar.  A strict warning to all: if you have never tried this, it’s simply amazeballs!  DO IT!

I’m sure your mouth is watering by now, and so you can understand why my pacing up and down the aisle turned into a crestfallen dally, which quickly turned into a mope, and eventually turned into a blatant loitering session of despair.  I just couldn’t get myself to believe that the sour cream wasn’t there.  I needed a miracle – something to snap me out of my woe.

Miracle gently tapped me on the shoulder.  Her real name was Tasanee, as the pinned nametag on her polo shirt suggested.  Tasanee must have been sent by the gods who show mercy on grumbling nudniks like myself (Nudnik is a Yiddish word that means one who complains…I’m familiar with this word from years of personal experience.).  Tasanee was beaming at me with a look of commiseration.  I was sure she was there to pull me out of my predicament by helping me find the sour cream. But in fact she did something quite different.  Instead she politely gestured her hand with an open palm toward the girl who was promoting and serving up samples of Hagen Daz ice-cream.  She was perfect for the job: tall, skinny, pretty, killer smile, no speaking skills required, and she fit perfectly into her low-cut 1960s skirt.  I figured, it was time to give up my quest for sour cream and wait in this ridiculously long line for a small taste bud-teaser-spoon of ice-cream.   Seriously, it was kind of silly to observe the 6 or 7 shoppers shamelessly waiting in line for such a teaspoon.  I laughed at myself while I waited, since I was being just as silly.  When it was my turn, the ice cream girl quickly scanned me with her eyes, and then handed me two mini paper cups of ice cream!  I gratefully took both cups, but intentionally put on a look of inquiry.  Why two when everyone else gets one?  She responded with: “Khun Doo Sow Djai Mak!”  Which translates to: “You seem so sad!”  I glanced at Tasanee who was nodding her head with an empathic yet stern look of agreement, as if telling me, “Hmmm, yes, indeed, you look quite sad.  You’re better off with double rations tonight.”  And then the three of us all laughed together.

I was overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude and light-hearted cheer.  Two strangers went out of their way to respond to my feelings of sow djai.  Indeed, this sour cream plight of mine is quite trivial, yet I somehow feel a greater significance in the outcome of this story: an exchange of smiles and joy.  And those few moments of ice cream were sooooooooooo good.  I left the store with yogurt as my alternative to sour cream.

This story would be good fodder for the writers at Mentos Mint Company.  You know what I’m talking about, right?  How their commercials are super corny, and in the end, the protagonist and the other actors look at each other, tilt their heads to one side, and exchange dumb smiles.  That’s pretty much what happened here.

And now, off to bake ponchiki and smother them with yogurt and sugar! Sweet!

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One Response to “The Sour Cream Incident”

  1. Paul V May 5, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

    Nice episode, thanks to your quest for sour cream. It gets deeper…

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