Like so many things in life, the joys of Trader Joe's are sweeter for having known the sad, grey world that existed in their absence. Until I was twenty-seven years old, you see, I lived in tragic ignorance of the fact that pre-marinated meat could be so delicious (and so thinly sliced!), or that crumpets could be so wonderful-tasting that they could make the casual usage of the word "crumpet" (almost) acceptable, or that drinkable four-dollar wine existed. Even in those heady days during which I first roamed the aisles alongside fellow Himalayan sea salt lovers too broke for Whole Foods, Trader Joe's was a once-a-month special occasion, because each trip resulted in the purchase of oh, so much four-dollar wine that I was required to splurge on a $25 taxi ride home.
Now I am a suburbanite. I own a car that I call a "truck" but that most people would probably consider an SUV. There is a Trader Joe's located 15 minutes from my house.
And now? Oh, now I know all about it. I can close my eyes and see the shelves laden with quinoa chips and dried broccoli florets in stunning - even technicolor - detail.