June 26, 2006

A Play A Day #74

The Whole Food Cafe


Setting: A restaurant, Ned and Diane, who are dating, sit at a table.

Ned: That's why we have to keep looking for alternatives to solar and wind power.

Diane: Hmmm... I always thought that they were the alternatives.

Ned: That's what Big Solar wants you to think. I think we have to move on from its iron grip.

Diane: You really are progressive, aren't you?

Ned: Well, I guess you could say that I read beyond the standard texts.

(Perry, their waiter, enter)

Perry: Good evening friends, my name is Perry; I'll be your whole food bearer this evening. (hands them menus) Have either of you eaten here before?

Ned: Yes, I have.

Diane: Not me.

Perry: Terrific! Let me explain a little about what you will experience here tonight...

Ned: Oh! Don't tell her. I want her to be surprised.

Perry: Certainly.

Ned: We'll have some water, and I'll have the natural lemonade.

Diane: I guess I'll have the cherry-raspberry, sounds delicious.

Perry: Yes, it is. I'll be right back with your drinks. (exits)

Ned: (examining menu) There are so many choices; that's one of the reasons I like this place.

Diane: (looking at her menu) A lot of salads.

Ned: Yes, that's sort of the staple food of whole food restaurants everywhere.

Diane: (flipping pages in menu) Yes, I see.

Ned: You're o.k. with that, right?

Diane: Oh, yeah, yeah... I like salad.

(Perry returns)

Perry: Here you go... lemonade and... raspberry-cherry... (he has put two glasses of water, then two more, then two whole lemons, a dozen or so cherries and raspberries, and two pices of raw sugarcane, various knives, a peeler and zester) Now are you ready to order?

Ned: Yes. I'll have the garden salad with spices and the aged water dressing.

Perry: Thank you, and for you?

(Diane has been staring at the fruit on the table since it arrived)

Diane: Wha...? Oh, yes, uhhh, I'll have the... ummm... fresh fruit salad with the natural dressing.

Perry: Wonderful choice. I'll be right back with your meals. (exits)

Ned: Well, we better get started!

Diane: With what?

Ned: Making the juice.

Diane: Ummm.... o.k.

Ned: See, I take the lemon and slice it into tiny chunks, then I use the zester to get some concentrated lemon peel in there, then I cut off a piece of the sugar cane, and chew it into a pulp and spit that into the lemon water. (he finishes this after a little bit) There you have it: one hundred percent natural.

Diane: Yes, I guess so.

Ned: Except for the glass, that's processed, but they're working on that too...

Diane: O.K.

Ned: Switching to hand-fired earthenware mugs soon.

Diane: Sure, I guess that makes sense.

Ned: Here, take the cherries and cut the seeds out and then the raspberries, then the sugar cane... (they finish it together, except Ned, in his enthusiasm, has chewed the sugar cane and spat it into Diane's glass. She is not o.k. with this.)

Diane: Ummm... you... uh...

Ned: Try it, it's so much better than anything from a co-op!

Diane: Yes, but... ummm...

(Perry returns, pushing a cart with their meals on it)

Perry: Here we go, garden salad for you. (he puts entire head of lettuce, several full spinach leaves, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, different peppers, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, jicama, etc.. then water in a very old glass with some unprocessed spices on the side) And a fresh fruit salad for you with natural dressing (Whole apples, oranges, bananas, kiwi, peaches, pears, apricots, and more exotic fruits are laid on the table for Diane, then "natural dresing", which is a carafe of water. Perry puts several more knives and two cutting boards down on the table) That's everything; please let me know if you need any help.

Ned: Looks great, Perry; thank you.

(Perry exits)

Diane: Umm... Ned...

Ned: (who's already started shredding the lettuce) Yes, Diane?

Diane: I'm a bit lost here.

Ned: (diligently working on his food preperations) How so?

Diane: What are the benefits of going out to eat here?

Ned: What do you mean?

Diane: Ned, we have to prepare all the food ourselves.

Ned: Yeah, it's great. Keeps you connected directly with the food chain.

Diane: But, I'm going out to eat, Ned.

Ned: Right, and you're connecting with the source of your food!

Diane: You mean their kitchen?

Ned: Oh, they don't have a kitchen here.

Diane: Nothing?

Ned: Right, the food is not cooked, and it's not even prepared!

Diane: That's just stupid.

Ned: No, this place is doing really well.

Diane: (looking around) We're the only ones here.

Ned: Not the right time for the crowds.

Diane: It's seven p.m. on Saturday.

Ned: That late? That explains it.

Diane: Explains what? That's when people go out for supper...

Ned: Not raw, whole, unprepared food people. They're up at 4 a.m., and in bed around 7 p.m. most days.

Diane: So why is it even open?

Ned: Well, they only need one person here to run it, since nothing is prepared.

Diane: But why wouldn't I just go down to my co-op, buy the food and prepare it myself?

Ned: Because then you wouldn't be getting the ambiance!

Diane: No, but I'd be saving a lot of money.

Ned: You're supporting a local business.

Diane: How?

Ned: Well, they buy food from the co-op, then they sell it back to us in a retaurant setting.

Diane: So, two bucks for this orange because of ambiance?

Ned: Yes. It's what we have to do to connect to the Earth!

Diane: But this restaurant is just one more layer between me and the Earth.

Ned: No, it's facilitating you connection to the Earth.

Diane: No. Ned, I have all these foods at home. I can just eat them there.

Ned: But, these guys are experts!

Diane: At printing menus and then buying ingredients and then doubling their price for no apparant reason.

Ned: Yes, for our meals.

Diane: They don't do anything!

Ned: It's a local business!

Diane: So is my checkbook!

Ned: Whoa! Calm down there, Diane. (pause) If you're buying into that consumer culture nonsense, just tell me now.

Diane: Ned, this is consumer culture nonsense!

Ned: They are bucking every conceivable trend here!

Diane: No, they're luring in people like you who want alternative everything, and you don't see that they are simply another whole food co-op except they are reselling you your own food and not giving you anything in return except a place to eat it.

Ned: No, they are helping you remember where food comes from.

Diane: Well, I'm not buying it.

Ned: Diane.

Diane: Literally.

Ned: But, you have to buy it, the food is already here.

Diane: It's here, not -prepared and not touched by me. Our Food-Bearer can wheel it out to the next sucker who comes along.

Ned: Diane, be reasonable.

Diane: I am. I'm leaving. I think I'll head to Taco Bell. (exits)

Ned: Diane!

(Perry enters)

Perry: Everything o.k., my friend.

Ned: Yeah, yeah... better give me a to-go bag for all this.

(Perry walks offstage, immediately back on with a co-op grocery bag)

Perry: Here you go; it's the same bag we brought the food in from the co-op next door.

Ned: I appreciate it.

Perry: We don't buy the food until you order it! I'll be right back with your check.

Ned: You guys are the best. (Perry exits, lights fade as Ned stands and starts packing the food into the bag, as if at a checkout counter)



Anonymous said...

That was really funny. This is my first time to surf the blogs--I'll definately be coming back!

Brendon Etter said...

Thank you, and thank you. I actually wrote this one very quickly. Glad you liked it! Thank you for the comments; it really helps spur me on.