Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Wisdom of Sticky Buns

With rare exception, when you set forth from 409 E. Sola Street, you have a destination in mind.  Even if it is to be little more of a venture than the evening's walk, you have some presentiment of the route you will take.

You also have some sense of what awaits you and an anticipated outcome.  You are, say, going out for breakfast.  Potential knowledge of the three likely places informs who you are likely to see, which further informs your decisions about what--if anything--to take to read or to work on.

Additional potentials for adventure of a high order--your choice of venue influences what you will have for breakfast, the only non-variable in the equation being the non-fat latte.  If you were hankering for oatmeal, you would not head south to the Luna, where the oatmeal is in the store room but not yet on the menu, nor would you go there for the French toast.  On the other hand, they know their way around poached eggs.

A venture out for your default breakfast of a brioche, latte, and a bowl of fruit is tinged with the adventure of choice and outcome because the Luna Cafe orders its brioche from Renaud Patisserie and serves the same brand of coffee--Peerless--as Renaud.  Until Friday, there was a factor reminiscent of a Robert Ludlum novel title.  The Sasha Factor.  Your breakfast options in your part of town would be the small Renaud Patisserie some four or five blocks away, or the larger one in the Loreto Shopping Center, which also contains a remarkable independent bookstore, Chaucer's.

A definite adventure factor is trying to decide which Renaud Patisserie to attend, thus the chance of being waited upon and chatting with Sasha, who, elegant posture, enigmatic smile, and a provocative collections of ear rings notwithstanding, seemed to trump these attributes with an insouciance that infused your breakfast meditations with an overall eagerness to get into the day's activities with a bit of brio, perhaps even a dash of adventurousness.
Alas, on last report, Sasha had quit, become, according to the report from Ingrid, the manager, "burned out with the restaurant business."  Perhaps from just such customers as you.

Breakfast is an important meal to you, psychologically as well as nutritionally; indeed it is important in ways that relate to why Sasha seemed so special.  It is way beyond the time for you to become burned out with the writing business.

You can--and often do--tend to your breakfast needs at home, sometimes adding to your usual out-on-the-town menu with a piece of fish, say a kipper; eggs, oatmeal, and that grand comfort food, peanut butter and jam on cinnamon raisin toast.  Nor are you ignoring the possibilities of eggs Benedict or another breakfast favorite, smoked salmon, scallions, scrambled eggs, a few green peas or asparagus, tossed over some angel hair pasta.

The business you cherish is the business of writing, wherein you set out with a different destination in mind, an unanticipated destination.  Truth to tell, the results are not always met, much less are they predictable.

You set out each day on a journey you have almost no hope of gratifying for some time to come--if ever.  You may not know when or if you've reached a destination of any significance. In many ways and cases, you are a man of judgement.  However lofty this may sound to you at times, you must give it the weight it requires.  You have arrived at whatever state this present moment is because you have made judgements as evidenced by decisions of whether to persist or abandon, stay or go, embark or debark, write on or write off.  You are one judgmental fool, is what you are, and it has taken you years to learn not to judge your characters.  You may--and do--judge the character and characters of others.  You may think you understand things so long as you realize you do not really do so.  You may even think you know more about someone or something, allowing yourself the lovely escape hatch by which you allow the ample possibility of others knowing more than you do, but when all the grounds and lees have been allowed to settle, you evoke pictures of persons, places, and settings, happening upon them the same way a photographer happens on a memorable shot, a moment of a multifarious reality you can experience even though you'd not been there, perhaps not been there because it happened before your appearance on this planet.

You do not begin this kind of journey with the same measure of certainty you experience when you set forth for breakfast.  Uncertainty, fear, blunted ambitions, and frustrations often sit at the breakfast table with you, whether it is at Dan and Janette's Cafe Luna, the Arlington Renaud's, or the Renaud's in the Loreto Shopping Center.

The only one who seems to have a momentary handle on things is Renaud, himself.  Not long ago, when he discovered that the Janine's bakery was leaving the bakery venue at Gelson's Market, also in The Loreto shopping Center, Renaud took it on,branding it La Reve Bakery, where it is now possible to secure impeccable sticky buns, made the more impeccable because of their component dough, which is also the brioche batter Renaud uses for his patisserie and to supply the pastry needs of Cafe Luna.

Renaud knows the how and why sticky buns are not to be served within the walls of his patisseries, just as you know to get a sticky bun to go and take it to Peet's when your craving is for a higher order of coffee. This in tandem with your awareness not to judge your characters and the impossibility of understanding how things work have you positioned slightly ahead of the game for a time.  But not long enough to suit you.

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