One of the local grocery stores has an aisle dedicated to “ethnic” foods. Various genres of staples, spices, and sweets each get a 4’ section of shelving – with no smooth transition from one to the next. So Mexican tortillas sit next to Asian rice, and Italian pastas touch Japanese nori. As I scanned the aisle searching for arame (for an experimental recipe I plan on making this weekend), I saw an elderly Norwegian couple looking closely at the Scandinavian section of the shelves for a specific product. Immediately to the right of this couple was another duo, a young Indian pair looking for a special cooking sauce. The two older, pale people migrated to the right, and the two younger, dark people shifted to the left – and a second later all four people bumped into one another, completely startled by the presence of the others. They all pulled back quickly, blinked their eyes in surprise for a second, and then smiled at each other. Without saying a word, each couple gently nodded to the other, then gracefully walked down opposite ends of the row.
It was a fantastic convergence of completely opposite cultures (a genuine “West Meets East” type of exchange), and a wonderful reminder that despite our many differences (age, gender, skin color, attire, or food preferences), we are all simply people. Skal! Shucram! Salud!