Thursday, July 28, 2005

Deconstructing the day

Face it: life, for the most part, is made up of a multitude of very tiny steps. Never is this more obvious than when you are cooking (as I am all day today). You organize your tasks (and there are a million steps that need to be ordered and followed) and you take a breath and plunge.

And then you deal with everything that does not follow the logical pattern that you set forth for yourself. You know, things don’t emulsify as they should, your Italian parsley is too bitter and so you need a different batch, the kiwi puree produced too much liquid.

And so you compensate. You turn on noise – for cooking, either a TV talk show or the radio will do; working in silence is a no-no. You cross out steps taken and add new ones to your list. You tell yourself that you are damn glad that you no longer work in a restaurant, because cooking for friends is fun whereas cooking for strangers is stressful. You look at the clock a million times and reprogram your tasks, piling more and more into the afternoon part of your grid, as the morning slips away on tasks that take longer than you would have anticipated.

At this point, the kitchen remains a place of ordered calm.

And the doorbell is ringing and you think – what the hell?? But you have made this deal with yourself that you will never ever not pause to talk to someone who stops by and as you drop everything to put on decent clothes (as opposed to the scrappy t-shirt you have on, along with something that resembled shorts twenty years ago but now could easily be mistaken for men’s underwear), the doorbell falls silent. You go out anyway and you see a neighbor’s 5-year old son (let’s call him Dennis – it’s apt) retreating. Ah. He has a habit of bringing my Times to my door and reveling in the heaped praise that is bestowed on him for his efforts. And when he does not reach me in time, he tosses the little blue sack aside, always missing the driveway, so that the paper habitually mauls what few blooms remain in my dry perennial bed.

And then you bike over to get the baguette and more kiwis and avocados (it’s green, I tell you – yellow and green on your plate today; and of course there will be flowers to eat as well) and you think to yourself – this day, made up of a thousand little details and a grand moment where it all (sort of) falls together – rocks.

Madison July 05 349