In the last entry, I told you something about Sam and how it is between her and her dad. Now, I’m going to tell you a little something about her dad.
When I married Speedy over 14 years ago, the only things he knew how to buy in the market were potatoes and panga ng tuna. We did the marketing together–I chose what to buy, he carried everything I bought. Although he could manage with canned goods and such on his own, buying fresh meat and seafood was my domain. It was like that for 12 years.
When I quit working about three years ago–we had moved to the suburb by then where everything is just far, far away–we only went to the market on weekends. The schedule became impractical because I had no access to fresh vegetables five days out of each week. We developed an arrangement where I would send him an SMS with a list of vegetables I needed the following day. He would buy them on his way home and, presto, we would have vegetables in the house.
At that time, buying seafood meant going to the market on Sundays and buying meat meant going to the Ortigas branch of Price Smart on Saturdays. When the Ortigas branch folded up, we had no choice but to go to the main store in far away Makati. Meanwhile, the price of gasoline just kept going higher and higher.
There came a point when we both agreed that it would be more practical for him to pass by Price Smart in Makati on a weekday before going home from work. That meant, of course, that he would be on his own. He would have to decide what meat to buy based on what was available on the day that he had time to pass by Price Smart.
At first, he stayed with “safe” choices–ground beef, pork chops, pork loins, steaks… But it’s been over two years since and, darn, I’m proud of him. He now knows what to look for in beef (the marbling of fat), he knows that the ideal pork belly should have less than 1/4-inch of fat between the layers of meat, etc., etc. He bought that tray of beef in the photo. :)
End of story? Not quite.
The one thing that Speedy refuses to do by himself is buy fresh seafood in the wet market. The why is an interesting story.
One Sunday, more than a year ago if I remember correctly, we got up so late after a very late Saturday night out. There was some meat in the freezer–all frozen. We would have nothing for lunch unless someone went out and bought something from the market that could be cooked fast. The logical choice, of course, was seafood. But we couldn’t go out at the same time because the kids were still sleeping. And at that hour (around 11.00 a.m.), parking would be impossible. The best option was for him to take his scooter and buy some seafood while I cooked the rice. I told him which stall to look for to make sure that he would get fresh fish. He protested but went anyway. He didn’t really want to starve, I suppose.
When he got back about half an hour later, I could already see that he was very upset as he entered the gate. He took the fish from the scooter’s compartment and marched to the kitchen without so much as a hello to me. Of course, I already had an idea that he had a bad time at the wet market. Anyway, I followed him to the kitchen where I removed the fish from its package and started cooking. He went straight to the bathroom and showered.
I knew it couldn’t be because he was shocked at the smell and muddy floors of the wet market. He had gone there many times before–with me. So, it had to be something else. He finally blurted it out over lunch. He started by saying he never wanted to buy fish by himself ever again. I asked why. I’ll never forget his reply.
He said, “It was like I was wearing a label on my forehead that says ‘NEWBIE’. All the fish mongers quoted prices way beyond what you said the prices would be. And I couldn’t haggle. It was like they knew a perfect victim when they saw one.”
Of course, the kids and I started laughing so hard. But he didn’t think it was funny. True to his threat, he never went to the wet market again by himself to buy fish. But that’s okay, at least, he knows how to buy meat. In time, when he overcomes his traumatic experience, he’ll come around. :razz: