Despite perhaps glaring evidence to the contrary (lounging about the home for over 2 years), I’m not much of a homemaker. Oh I can tackle toilet cleaning like it’s a gold medal event, but the rest of it remains beyond my grasp. A woman’s place is in the revolution I always say, and in our house there’s a corollary for a man’s place: the produce aisle. He who cooks has to get the groceries.
But every now and then, I tag along. When you don’t have to worry yourself with melon thumping and bread squeezing, you have time to have a look around at the coming and goings of people, an interesting pastime for foreigner like me. Not long ago, I was intrigued by some unexpected shoppers: monks.
Perched high above Vevey is a Buddhist monastery, and for some reason I was surprised to see the faithful in the aisles of the local Migros chain store (as opposed to their food magically appearing by meditating really hard). They were all robes and smiles and shaven heads, and I found myself following one of them—one could say stalking, I say casually observing. I figured if I could just see what they were buying, I could duplicate the purchases and eat my way to inner peace.
But I couldn’t keep up without the risk of being found out. Turns out those guys are not only enlightened but fast as lightning. I suppose they can’t be sauntering about the fish section or loitering at the banana counter, too much sitting and chanting to be done.
Anyway, wisely, I let it go. Imagine how humiliating it would have been for a professional Buddhist to turn around and yell, “Screw off woman, you’re creeping me out!” Besides, the Dalai Lama is passing through this area in April, and I don’t need him showing up at my door with a lecture about monk harassment.
However, karma was on my side that day. When we got to the checkout, they were at the next one over, perfect for nonchalant spying. And what did I see? Carts overflowing with what I found to be surprising items. I’ve never seen so many cakes and cookies and fancy cheeses in my life. There was even a trolley filled with nothing but baguettes and fancy rolls.
I imagined piles of seeds and nuts, maybe a bag of rice and a few apples, crates of green tea, certainly not multiple thickly iced black forest cakes and dark chocolate pudding cups. I tried to make eye contact with one guy, to connect, if only for a brief moment, with someone whose religion is kindness, but he was too busy tapping away on his iPhone.
Now there’s a monastic life I could get behind. Hmm, I’m looking for a new job. I wonder if they’re hiring. I already applied for that Pope gig, but now I’m having second thoughts. I’d rather be bald than wear that pointy hat. But then again, the monks didn’t have a drop of wine in their carts, and I suspect the Italian job would come with a stocked cellar. Decisions, decisions…