Five years ago this month I became a member of the Park Slope Food Co-op. I was in food heaven. I lived around the corner on 5th Avenue, had a great work crew – Thursday Week C cash register 8:30 to 10:30 pm – and couldn’t believe I could try five different cheeses for $5 total. The produce tasted fresh, and it cost the same for organic as it did conventional at regular grocery stores.

But then a year later I moved up north to Williamsburg. Probably only 4 miles away as the crow flies, but if you know Brooklyn, you know how hard it is to travel north-south, and in particular between the Slope and the Burg. With a heavy heart, I put my membership on hold – meaning I didn’t have to work, but also couldn’t shop. They promised I could rejoin whenever I wanted.

I decided today was the day to sign back up. While I love the speciality stores in my hood, plus Fresh Direct and Fairway, I missed the Co-op. I dusted off my membership card and headed south. I walked in and inhaled deeply. Ahhhh. That smell. Either you know or you don’t. If you’ve spent any time in any natural food stores you know it: a little musty, a little like grains in bulk bins mixed with lavender soap. It felt like coming home.

My bubble burst when the membership office told me I needed to come back with a piece of mail or a bill showing proof of address. I offered the New Yorker and New York magazines in my bag, both containing my current address, but the friendly membership officer wasn’t budging.

Ok, co-op, I haven’t given up. I’ll be back. On Saturday. Con Ed bill in one hand, my calendar in the other. I’ll be signing up for those “Ftop” shifts, even if they are at 5:30 am unloading trucks. Oh how I’ve missed you.

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