In rural parts of the state that are off the road system, a regular sized thing of laundry detergent can cost $25.00. In urban areas off the road system, like Juneau, it feels like you're living in "normal" America for the most part.
That is until you walk into one of the four grocery stores in town and see this:
Mind you, Taylor Swift's "Blank Space" is playing in the background. I feel like the "I'll write your name" line works well. Especially if your name is "a normal looking cucumber."
Back in the day (I am told by friends who grew up here), there was no fresh produce at all; only canned or frozen. Now we have "fresh produce."
You will note that I put "fresh produce" in quotes. That's because most people don't consider a GMO-avocado that is barged through Seattle for two weeks next to a Honda SUV and a couch from Ikea and that gets to your salad either black with rot or harder than several elements on the periodic table to be "fresh produce."
"This is a GREAT tomato I just bought at Fred Meyer and an even BETTER pear I just bought at Costco!," said no one in Juneau ever.
Perhaps that's why the shambolic renovation state of Juneau's only full downtown grocery store is more troubling than it otherwise would be under normal American circumstances.
When your apple already tastes like the wax version of its mentor from a display in the Home Decor department at Macy's, you're kinda reluctant to compound the problem by feeding it to your kid with peanut butter and an extra sprinkling of sawdust and asbestos.
Not that I am complaining. Not at all. I recognize that this is a First World problem of the highest order, and that if I were even the tiniest bit competent, I could grow my own produce in the community garden here, instead of killing a cactus and an aloe plant in my windowsill every month.
Granted it would only be carrots and kale and a few other things. But still. I would feel better about myself.
And in the end, isn't that what life is really all about?