Thursday, March 10, 2005

Cultural notes--the new Austin

When I went to the new Whole Foods imperial headquarters during its grand opening I realized as I turned into the parking garage that I had made a mistake--the sinking feeling you get when you impulsively decide to attend some outdoor thing with thousands of other people and find yourself inescapably in a line of car traffic being directed to some unknown remote destination by guys with flags, and it is too late, there is no way back. It was like that. Lower and lower into the subterranean reaches of the parking garage, and finally released from the guidance of the last flagperson I found an empty space between two late model SUVs, and I realized as I began my hike towards the dim lights that said "escalator" that my car was old and had a lot of birdshit on it which I momentarily thought might be why they directed me to the ultimate bottom circle of parking, but I retain a semblance of mental health and so realized that that was crazy thinking and went on in.

Once within the store, I felt like I had to walk thru the whole thing. It is quite amazing. The food is _very_ pleasing to the eye. I think it's the kind of place where average white people would like to go shopping if they had more money, which they don't. I felt a lot of nostalgia for utopian grocery experiments I have known, like Austin's Wheatsville Coop. But they put something in the air that causes you to spend before you leave, and I left with a couple of chunks of hard cheese, some dark chocolate, and a tin of green tea, all of which set me back $35, and I bought the low-priced items.

The escalator down to the bottom of the parking garage, which slants so you can roll a shopping cart on it, has a creepy feel to it. It's hard to explain, like you are going to topple forward. I bet Mackey is going to get sued there one day, when some elderly person with balance problems is found crumpled at the bottom of it.

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