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ESL 1, EFL 0

September 30, 2009

I was ridin’ the #10 bus yesterday and occupying the seats in front of me were a 60ish-year-old woman and a 5ish-year-old boy who was probably her grandson. As the bus puttered along they talked to each other in English and Spanish from time to time. Grandma was way better than the kid at Spanish and the kid was way better than his grandma at English. There was a minute or so of silence, and suddenly out of nowhere (I love how kids have these long weird conversations with themselves in their heads and then confidently announce their findings out loud and they’re so proud of themselves and you have to quickly perform a bunch of reverse calculations to work back to the origin of the proclamation so you can respond properly), the little boy says delightedly, inflecting it like a question:

“Raisins are baby grapes?”

Grandma replies in rapid Spanish. “Ohhhhhh,” says the kid. Grandma says something else. The kid rambles on for quite a while about the plot of a chapter book he’s reading. Grandma finally interrupts and says something else. The kid says, honest to Zeus:

“They’re the second chapter of grapes?”

Is that not the effing awesomest thing you’ve ever heard?

My relationship with raisins goes back to 1983, when I declared my love for the lady on the Sun-Maid bag. As a result, my parents spent the next 20 years making fun of me every time raisins were mentioned, peripherally visible, on the grocery list, in something we were eating, potentially in something someone 50 feet away was eating, etc., but to this day I totally stand by that crush. Don’t even act like she ain’t all that with her basket of grapes in the sun (the denouement of chapter one). She’s on it, she’s rockin’ that bonnet, redder than a rose in a Shakespeare sonnet. That is a handsome woman. Although we could never be together because of the age difference, I have never forgotten my first love, and I’ve remained a steadfast fan of her bountiful produce. This second-chapter business just makes me love raisins even more. I haven’t bought any in a while because they’re so g.d. expensive these days, but after yesterday’s bus ride I don’t think I can ever have a raisinless cupboard again. Next Tuesday is cheap day at Safeway. Best believe there will be a 750 gram bag of Sun Maid in my basket.

The second chapter of grapes. Undoubtedly the 2009 Metaphor of the Year. Somebody should send that lady a plaque.

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