Sour oranges

The orange I sliced to go with my lunch today was unusually sour. This is not earth-shattering news, except that it just goes to show that I have only one thing working in my favor when I pick up fruit at the grocery store: luck.

I have no idea what I am doing when it comes to picking fruit. I walk over to where the oranges are sitting. I look at their colors and immediately reject any that fall outside the norm. (If an orange stands out in any way, too yellow, too orange, too green, spots on it, etc., I ignore it.) Then, since other people are picking up and touching the oranges, I feel the need to do the same thing. I fear the only effect this has is to spread my germs to whoever touches the fruit after me.

In order to look like I know what I am doing, I will pick up few oranges, squeeze them in my hand, and then reject them with a cynical shake of my head. Sometimes I will sigh as though I am annoyed with the quality of the fruit; that they just don’t make Florida oranges like they used to. (I would have no way of knowing if this were true.) Then I’ll pick up an orange that seems to fall within the first or second standard deviation, and toss it into my bag. I’ll repeat this process four more times until I’ve got enough oranges for each lunch I pack during the week.

So far, I have been very lucky with the oranges I pick. This is especially true since the produce here in Maryland is nothing to write home about. The oranges are usually sweet and tasty, sometimes surprisingly so, and when I bite into one of those oranges, I congratulate myself a thousand times over on how well I picked the fruit. I am also completely baffled. What did I do and how can I do it again? Today, however, the orange was sour and I have a feeling that more often than not, I’ll end up picking sour oranges and that my luck at picking good ones has finally come to an end.


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