I was pulling the thigh-high weeds along the back fence of my garden. The professional gardeners who were working to clear an adjacent area of the community garden were taking a mid-morning break. I’ve worked side-by-side with these guys all week long–me puttering around in my garden, them using their industrial-grade equipment a few yards away. They’ve shared some advice with me, and we’ve worked to overcome some language barriers (they all speak Spanish).
So today one of them gestured to catch my attention as they were snacking on corn tortillas, beans, and Squirt. He called out:
“Hey, garden lady…want a taquito?”
I vascillated. I wanted very much to fraternize with these guys–they’d been so nice to me over the past few days (even carrying out some of my loads of weeds to the dumpster for me). They were having a jolly breaktime together and I was envious of their cameraderie. But I was too nervous about whether I would be offered meat, and I wondered at the impropriety of my lunching with a bunch of sweaty, very manly, guys.
I smiled as sincerely as I could and yelled back:
“No…but thank you.”
But as I continued to work in my garden and they continued to eat I was mentally kicking myself–afraid that I’d appeared elitist or selfish or cowardly. And I _did_ want to join them.
But the table where they ate–though it was just 3 or 4 yards away from where I stood–was way too far out of my comfort zone.