By now you should be able to tell that I'm learning a lot of things here. Among them, a lesson in illiteracy.
I have a new found respect for people who can't read and still find ways to live independently. I have respect because I'm illiterate and it's so hard to just get by. I can't read one thing: no signs, menus, labels, nothing.
One incident stands out in my mind. It was the perfect Saturday morning and I wanted breakfast - banana pancakes to be exact. So I lovingly mash the ripe bananas and prepare the mixture just right. Then I laboured over the hot stove until they were golden brown and fragrant. Then I sat back, relaxed, took a bite and then... YUCK! I bought salt not sugar! Awww man, all that hard work down the drain.
I blame that mean shopkeeper. She knows that I can't read. Why didn't she warn me? Why would I need a 5 pound bag of salt? Do I look like I own a restaurant?
What makes it even trickier is that several products are packaged the exact same way. Between my friends and I, we have bought miso soup paste instead of peanut butter. We've bought soup instead of milk. Also bought vinegar instead of soy sauce and salad dressing instead of cooking oil.
This has been the pattern of my daily life - full of mystery and suspense.
And The Lesson? Well, Illiteracy is expensive.