Monday, October 20, 2008

Sudden insight

Yesterday, our last day in the Washington D.C. area for this trip, we took a bus to Georgetown to do a little window shopping. It's a very interesting area. All of the very finest and most expensive of high-end of Generican shops have staked out a place along M st. NW or the surrounding cross streets: Black and White, Versace, 9 West, Sephora, Restoration Hardware, Lush, Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, Clyde's - there's all there. We saw some pretty neat things, and actually parted with a little cash in the Lush store (high end bath products)

One store, however stopped this hick mid westerner in her tracks. Dean & DeLuca. It's listed on the interweb as a 'Purveyor of fine foods, wine, and dinnerware'. It's the most upscale, exclusive, elite grocery store I've ever laid eyes on. They had Pavarotti playing over the Bose surround system. They had Prime cow for $40.00 a pound in the meat case. They had stacks of perfect fruit (out of season), cheeses from across the globe, only the finest Balsamic vinegars, oils, sauces and condiments, and blocks of several different gourmet salts they would sell you a chunk off from for your salt grinder. They had two (maybe more, I saw two) nattily dressed and name-tagged wine experts orbiting the wine section to help with the selection of the perfect bottle to go with that caviar you picked up to snack on in front of the TV tonight.

They were also very busy. People were hauling large arm baskets full of expensive edibles to the check outs, people with little kids in tricked out strollers and reusable grocery bags stocking up on tiny $12.00 jars of jam and artisan breads.

In the back of the store - near the confectionery - I suddenly had a thought: 1/2 of the world is starving. Many of the people who want me to pay more taxes and be more mindful of my own impact of the Earth are the liberals - politicians, bankers and lawyers, think tankers - who live in the rarefied air right here in Georgetown and places like it. And here they are doing their shopping at Dean & DeLuca.

I love little 'gourmet' treats occasionally. A trip to Chicago recently ended with a side stop at Whole Foods for some unusual cheese and a couple of bottles of wine I'd never tried, but Dean & DeLuca depressed me. I had a dollar in my pocket that I was saving for the bus fare. I covertly dropped it into the cup of the homeless lady in the wheelchair 1/2 a block up the street. It was a tiny bit of penance for living like I do.


No comments: