Al Fresco, Queens

My grandparents, walking home from the market with dinner, the 1940s. Sunnyside, Queens. Urban grocery shopping, the French way, daily, a short walk from the apartment.  This was how it was done in the icebox era.

They look okay for two people who never did a burpee or took a yoga class in their lives. He smoked unfiltered Camels for 65 years, drank martinis daily, and died at 85 with a full head of hair. She smoked Winstons and lived to 78.  They divorced in the 1960s, after their third kid.

Today America loads up the GMC Yukon like we’re preparing for the hundred-year storm every time we go to the market.  We have more condiments than we can fit on our shelves so we put them in the back of the lazy susan and forget about them. Years later we get around to that long-postponed deep cleaning and wonder why we have six bottles of red wine vinegar and pounds of expired wheat flour and rice.  Why does the freezer have so many opened bags of broccoli and frozen raspberries tied off with rubber bands?

Cause we can. We didn’t have to carry it up Sepulveda Blvd.