Thursday, April 4, 2019

In the Pursuit of Matcha

  I'm a girl who loves adventures, especially the unexpected kinds, and today one greeted me with its arms open wide. It all started out innocently enough; I had recently read multiple skincare books in my determination to clear up my skin and they all promoted matcha (a Japanese green tea). Yes, matcha is primarily intended for consumption, but I wanted to use it for face masks that I found multiple recipes for.

  This afternoon Mum and I had to run some errands and we were going to stop by a little country shop along the way where I knew that matcha was for sale. I was very excited at the opportunity to finally get my hands on this health guru-proclaimed super food and I set out having completely resolved to procure some of this wondrous green tea that I've heard so much about, and along the way I made three unexpected friends, hid behind a shelf, and waved tiny bags of walnuts in front of a lady's face.

  If you know me well you will know that I am a firm believer that the best adventures must be had on foot (preferably in bare feet) and so it was very fitting that as I was driving to that particular matcha-carrying store I suddenly realized that while I was wearing shoes, I had forgotten to wear socks. Don't ask me how that even happens because I have no idea either. After confessing that horrible fact to Mum she instructed me to stop in at a Dollar General and fetch some socks.

  I ran around inside of that store for quite a while and after finding some socks that had strange motivational quotes on the soles I bought them and promptly dressed my feet when I returned to our vehicle.

  Having fixed that little issue I went on my way and soon we were parked in front of that little country store.

  We browsed for a while and then I decided that it was time to find the matcha. I looked all over the tea section but couldn't find any. However, I remembered that they had a section in the store where they sold specialty drinks, usually the exotic sort. It seemed like the next most likely place for matcha so I abandoned Mum and ran over to the shelves of coffees and teas imported from lesser-known countries.

  While there, a particularly effusive and smiling, curly-headed woman walked past me and chatted merrily with her two friends. They were discussing walnuts because apparently the bubbly woman needed them for the dinner that she was making this evening. I listened to their conversation only vaguely because I was very focused on finding matcha.

  No matter how long I stared at those shelves I couldn't find any. But I wasn't ready to give up yet. I was walking back to the initial tea shelf and I just passed an aisle where they had a whole collection of chopped walnuts dangling in tiny bags. I thought of the woman that I had overheard and considered telling her about my discovery but I decided not to just in case I had misheard her or in the chance that she might be offended at my eavesdropping.

  I had just decided not to tell her when I heard a familiar voice behind me. "Excuse me miss, do you work here?"

  I turned around and that very same woman I was just telling you about was standing there with a hopeful expression on her face. I couldn't stand to disappoint her so after telling her that no, I don't work at that establishment, I told her I might know where the something was that she was looking for (after all, I had a vague idea about what she might be looking for).

  She smiled and said that she was looking for walnuts. Naturally I spun around and gestured quite dramatically at the tiny bags of walnuts. She laughed in a very musical and contagious way and declared that she was looking for a much larger bag but she appreciated my efforts. I wished her good luck and went right back to hunting down that highly elusive tea of mine.

  After searching high and low, left and right, for it I decided that I couldn't find it by myself. Just as I was about to give up, that lovely lady and her two friends came around the corner. I decided that turnabout was fair play and asked her if she might know where matcha was.

  I ended up explaining what it was to all of those ladies. They also discovered that I wanted it not to consume but to use on my face. It amused all of them so much that within seconds we were all standing around laughing. One of them calmed down enough to say that she bet I discovered matcha online and after I admitted that I did they all laughed again until they were shaking. Those dear women helped me look for matcha for a while but then we all gave up together and I followed their suggestion to ask someone up front about it.

  Soon I had a store employee walking confidently in front of me. She marched right up to that dreadful tea shelf and after rummaging around the back she pulled out a teensy packet of matcha. "This is the last one" she said. I thanked her profusely and was just doing a celebratory happy dance when those three women I had met walked by and spotted the matcha. They congratulated me and after laughing some more they went on their way.

  I glanced down at the price tag on that tiny bag and almost fainted. I walked over to my Mum and we decided that it simply wasn't worth it. I detested the idea of putting it back after knowing what a great ordeal it had been to actually find some. The three women were still standing around chatting cheerfully with one another and so I hid behind shelves and once they were looking elsewhere I dashed across the aisles and tucked the matcha back in its place. Having accomplished my mission I walked back to my Mum and we both left that place feeling like an adventure had just been had.

  I didn't end up with what I had set out wanting, but I did leave that store having experienced something much better, a completely absurd adventure whose memory will serve to delight me for many days ahead.