Everywhere I turned, I seemed to run into them. People at the shops, bumping into their friends. Acquaintances. People from down the road. A local they hadn’t seen in a while.
Two women stood in front of the apples talking about how it was when they ‘showed’ so early for their second child. The grocer guy sang out to his buddy stocking up corn, and they chatted loudly about people they knew from other stores.
Another older woman held her arms out in an embrace as she came across another woman, and then the woman being hugged pointed to a third woman and said “this used to be my neighbour.” I saw them picking out groceries together and helping the older woman later on.
Two old ladies stood at the entrance to the biscuit aisle, whispering lowly about God-knows-what, but their faces were so solemn I nearly hung out a second longer to catch a word or two about the latest scandal, I could only assume.
I felt a bit left out. I couldn’t just bump into someone I knew in our town. Not yet. I didn’t know anybody. Baby girl was slowly making friends at kinder – soon she would know people out and about. Hubbie was also now working locally, so he too was recognising faces here and there. I was still based out of town, WAY out of town for work, so I wasn’t really based in any such way in our new town, not yet.
Not yet. I told myself this. I told myself, as I smiled at the exchanges I came across, wishfully thinking that my time would come, and soon enough, I would be bumping into people, and saying “oh hey! How have you been?” Maybe I would talk about how the corn was in season. Or maybe I would indulge in some scandal/gossip or two.
Or maybe all of the above. If I was lucky.
And this I pondered, as I searched for fresh yeast.
It was becoming extremely difficult to find. Back where we used to live in the Northern suburbs, I knew exactly where to find, and where to go for the fiddly, specific, random items I sometimes required. Fortunately for me, where I used to buy yeast was just around the corner from me, at a continental deli in the large shopping centre in town. There were that many
wogs, (ahem) Europeans there, of course they had fresh yeast for sale, frequently. It wasn’t odd to look for it.
“No we don’t sell it,” said one gourmet deli cashier to me, as she genuinely looked quizzical, adding that she didn’t know where I could buy it while looking around to serve the next person and get rid of me.
“I don’t know where we get it from,” said the bakery lady who had walked out to place bread on the shelves in Woolies, implying that yes they had it, but no, they did not SELL IT.
Where was I going to get fresh yeast from? It almost seemed like I was asking for a Unicorn’s horn, or something. People looked at me like “Wowzee, geez, good luck.” I was making a bunch of bread-like cheese rolls for my parents’ upcoming anniversary, and I was going to make them tomorrow. So I needed to buy the yeast, NOW.
I decided nothing was lost by asking the cashier who had put through my items a previous time at Woolies. She seemed like a really lovely person. As she weighed my apples, I asked, “do you know where I could find fresh yeast around here?”
She thought for a moment, throwing a bit of a clueless look as so many before her had thrown when I had posed my question, and then turned to the Mum with two kids behind me who was placing her groceries on the conveyor belt, and without hesitating asked “where can you buy fresh yeast around here?”
They knew each other.
This Mum was lovely and started rattling off heaps of names. One on the Main street, and then the cashier jumped in and mentioned a grocery store in town.
“My Hubbie works there actually” I said. “I’m just waiting for him to get back to me on that.”
The Mum then remembered a gourmet/organic grocer that was a few shops down in the little centre we were in, and immediately I was like “of course!” How could I have forgotten that little unique and quirky-buys place?
I high-tailed it out of there after thanking them, and upon walking into the gourmet grocer, came across a very smiley lady at the counter.
“Do you sell fresh yeast?”
“You know who would know that? Our chef. And she so happens to be a few doors down. Follow me.”
And just like that, she left her post in the grocer store at the counter, and walked off, me following her with my trolley full of groceries, containing almost everything BUT fresh yeast. She kindly introduced me to the chef who was chatting with another shop owner, and then left to resume her post, while I asked wide-eyed “was there any fresh yeast around here?”
The chef, was super-friendly. She was surprised Woolies hadn’t just given me some, but said to try all the bakeries in the area… she mentioned the Baker’s Delight just several stores down, and Banjos on Main street, and then another fine foods deli off the Main street. She was so friendly and helpful, and placed confidence in me that I WOULD find it.
I still tentatively walked to Baker’s and when it was my turn to be served, asked all high-pitched “do you sell fresh yeast here?”
“Yeah” responded the cashier with no confusion or Unicorn horn- questioned look.
And so, I got my damn fresh yeast. The locals had been lovely, and gone out of their way to help me, just as you would expect in a village-type seaside town.
And just as I had been wondering how long it would talk to get it, the fresh yeast came across my path quite suddenly, as it had been there in front of me, all along…
And I realised that like the yeast rising, hopefully so too would my ‘locals’ friend list also go up… much sooner than I expected.