わかりました。I didn’t know if they were using the green logo to mean environmentally friendly. I thought it meant natural— green like the leaves they use and real cane sugar. Or envious. If I told you Japan loves stevia would that change anything?

Well like and that’s the thing, like green has all these vague Positive Associations and stevia is a plant but it’s not sugar and it seems like this is like vaguely natural and good coke and it’s just sneaky. I’ll probably try it at least once.

Also no. Japan thinks you can eat a cracker with added collagen and fix your wrinkles.

What’s wrong with stevia leaf?

There’s nothing wrong in principle with stevia leaf, I guess; it’s the whole package here, the green and cursive like this is enviro-coke? healthy coke?, plus “cane sugar and stevia” like this isn’t a diet drink—this is diet masquerading as non-diet, stevia is a diet sweetener, and it’s just garbage, it’s just trying to en-hip-en diet coke with yet a new version (zero isn’t un-diet enough, I guess).

→ Imaginative Merriment Leggings in Delight | Mod Retro Vintage Pants | ModCloth.com

I readily admit to sort of wistfully imagining what I could wear with a couple of these art-leggings (“Girl Before a Mirror” [Picasso] and “The Moon” [Mucha]), but I am having trouble imagining “The Garden of Earthly Delights” as fashion.

About the caring, maybe:

Today I went to lunch with a book club that consists perhaps entirely of members of my church. They took me to a Turkish restaurant in West Haven. Lunch was at one, and when I got into the car to go home, it was nearly four.

One of the older women in the club cares for a old man, an old friend, who has a degenerative eye condition and is now blind. Sometimes he comes to dinner outings—I met him at the dinner with the executive presbyter of Zambia—and he was there today. He came to the States from Italy, from Pulia, when he was sixteen, after the end of the second World War. He spoke no English at the time but ended up with two master’s degrees, teaching three languages (French, Spanish, Italian) at high schools and colleges in this part of Connecticut. He read voraciously—but has been unable to read for some years now, and so listens to lectures on tape, linguistics, history, literature, philosophy. He listens to them over and over, and I think he has them all memorized. He is easily one of the most brilliant people I’ve ever been within ten feet of, but has this easily-bashful manner, I guess left over from being an immigrant boy everyone thought was useless, because with his early night-blindness he couldn’t be a pilot or a cop or even drive a car, and had to go to school instead. You can still hear the echo of Italian in his voice in a way that makes him an audible link between Italy and the sort of New York Italian accent movies have shown me. He’s a particular sort of talker, slightly awkward and shy in casual interaction, but set him off on any topic he loves and suddenly you’re in a lecture and you (I) don’t even mind because he’s so taken with what he’s saying that it just spills out of him, and everything connects to everything else. Today he told me about the attempted assassination of Julian de Medici and his brother Lorenzo (the Magnificent), on the Pope’s dime, and about a Spanish playwright with an oeuvre ten times Shakespeare’s, and also about Camus, and the Latin fifth declension. He assumes you don’t know about any of this, which in basically anyone is off-putting, but it’s more than made up for by the fact that when you say “Yes, I know,” he immediately says “You know about this, yes, of course,” and continues, and the next time it’s “you know about this, yes?” When I told him I took Latin in high school, his whole face lit up.

The thing about belonging to a church—not in the formal membership way necessarily—is the way it can be a license to care about people more quickly and more deeply than you ordinarily could. Can be, not is, because (most) often we carry our need to appear put-together and desire for privacy and autonomy into the sanctuary, and churches often are key bricks in a particular sort of wall (or façade) that we build, but still: At the church where I’m interning there is an old old man and his only slightly less old niece who live together and are often ill; they were not in church last week and are here this week, and I thought, I must ask them how they’re doing. I must ask how they’re doing, when I’ve seen them for maybe a total of six hours across ten weeks.