I see two kinds of loaves: temporary loaves that happen in wonderful, strange, fleeting moments and well, that’s it. The other version of loaf which we convinced ourselves exists is just an illusion. It’s a holiday greeting card whereby the manufacturers tried very hard to make loaf into a generic sentiment which could be canned, commodified and sold to any Jack Jill and Jane who were happy to stand by the clichés.
But let’s start with the delightful version.
You are your own special recipe, a premixed dough going about in the world. In this version of loaf, it’s just about seeing what will rise. Will it be oven time or do you have to adjust your recipe? Or start from scratch?
The wonderful, strange, fleeting kind of loaf usually occurs as an serendipitous encounter with someone in public which has a temporary context: while in transit, through an exchange that goes well, even when you’re dealing with bureaucracy and someone surprises you by treating you like a human rather than a number.
Being in transit is a great place for catching the spark in the eye of another, exchanging dialogue over current events and doling out compliments. Beware, transient encounters also enable drunken confessions, someone pushing their religion onto you or venting profusely. But this can also be a loaf song, especially if you’re the type to be delightfully surprised when you find raisins in your bread.
Then there are the places where events occur, like in a restaurant - where that stunning wait person seems to be reading your mind. Or a caterer at a wedding party who becomes your best friend for the night. Retail situations are full of people with all sorts of energies behind the guise of an exchange of goods: The guy working the counter in the late night shop who’s dispensing invaluable advice like a buddha, the bookshop where I had many brief encounters with celebrities, and that time I had a physical therapist whereby i became super confused about whether i should take them out to dinner as they were kneading so much pain out of my body, shouldn’t i at least buy them a drink?
Ok you’re probably asking but are you sure that's loaf you’re talking about? Yes it is. You are invested yet open, present yet agile to what comes next, and sometimes you are the one confessing, slinging compliments, or baring your soul to a stranger -therefore vulnerable and sacrificing. But with zero commitment or need for followup, enjoying the moment at hand.
We’ve put so much weight and expectation on the other kind of loaf. You know, the one in fairytales and tired Hollywood movies playing out that delusional idea - that loaf lasts forever. This is fluffy Wonderbread. Full of additives. Lacking in substance.
In the organic version, there is a process behind the warm, soft, wholesome goodness but this loaf does have a shelf life. Don’t put so much pressure on the long term. You don’t even know if you’ll get there. Sure there are sourdoughs traversing the world for hundreds of years but this is a cultivation built on patience from moment to moment and has had true dedication in keeping it alive.
Chef together, talk about your recipes, what mixes well, what needs more time, what has spoiled and needs to get thrown out? Keep it fresh. Try experimenting with variations.
Meanwhile, while loafing around together, we can start letting go of false idols, silly storylines, and delusional dramas. Let’s take the edge off and dough it slightly different.
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