I Will Always Inevitably Order Bacon
He’s facing in the direction of my date, blatantly looking at him, and failing to stop. My gay server-come-friend is scoping out my date. I hit him on the shoulder, “Stop being so obvious,” I say. He’s part of this new tribe, the constellation of people that have entered my life, every since I detracted from the office and set up shop in the outside world.
A few minutes before the date spying incident I’m trying to decide between a chai, chaipuccino, chai latte, iced chai which is proving to be a serious source of miscommunication between me and the barista. The barista is looking at me like why don’t you know what these things are? And waiting for me to catch up. He’s not one of those baristas that loves bean nuance so much that he would over-explain grinds and blends and approaches to coffee. No he’s a minimalist in coffee bar customer service. Somewhere in this I decide a chai latte, “does it have coffee in it?”
“No.” Duh, he wanted to say.
Then my server friend swoops in. “What are you doing here so late in the day?” I ask him. For the last 3 months I’ve seen him and the whole group of morning shift servers at my coffee shop early in the morning at 8 am or so. They are like the family you see when you walk downstairs into the kitchen in the morning except I can’t really show up in my pajamas and I have to walk down the street to see them. Updates on the latest dates, haircuts, concerts, earring designs etc are exchanged.
So he scopes out my date, and I walk back to actually participate in the date. I secretly want to stay with him, because its more fun.* This is my new life, my post-9–5 life. A few months back, I was a department director of nonprofit during the day and an aspiring artist at night. Then one day, just like that, the artist won. I gave up my job of 9 years in search of where this frustrated version of myself would take me. I always assumed, that in the war between the two sides of me, the more risk averse one would take over, the prudent, nay saying, career achieving side of me would win, it seemed like the natural order of the world. It would get married, have babies and settle things once and for all with the artist. “I win.” It would say, “now go in your corner and shut up.”
But now, a few months post-9–5, post heart and soul giving to the job, it seems that the two sides of me are in a serious and regular conversation with each other. The one says, “hey we like a certain lifestyle.” The other says “yes but we may wither should we not create.” And it goes on. But at least the artist has a place at the table now. Which has made my happiness levels increase remarkably. Oddly, from the outside my life may look completely bizarre and unplanned, on the inside, everything feels much more settled.
Now I live a bit of a 60 year old man’s life. I drink cappuccino in the morning as part of my writing ritual. And it happens in a sort of Jack Nicholson As Good As It Gets, sit in the same corner, order the same thing, sort of way. The other morning a new server was taking my order for a cappuccino as I sat at the coffee bar and an hour into my breakfast he said to me, “Ernesto said that you will always inevitably order bacon.”
Ernesto is the other server I’ve become friends with in my morning coffee shop kitchen. This is the same Ernesto that looked me in the eyes when I told him I wanted to order what a guy across the bar was eating, which was biscuits and gravy. He said, “Yea its good but you know, if you want to watch your weight the tofu scramble would be better.” I couldn’t stop laughing. How did my server, and new friend, also become my nutritionist? Take the leap and the net appears, I suppose.
Ernesto knows me better than most. For now, I will likely always order bacon. Bacon means everyday is Sunday and I want a lot of Sundays and for now, my days are mine. Unsure of how long this luxury will last, I want to use and waste it however I deem right.
I hear second hand that people are constantly wondering what it is I’m doing. I’m not sure how to explain to them, their choices seem odd to me, my choices seem odd to them. But I can say that I’ve never been so deliberate in my life. It may not give others the security that a title, a prefix, -a Mrs.- or a suffix,- a Phd- would give, but it is exactly what I have determined is what I should be doing. I’m not a girl “who travels” only, though I travel a lot. I’m not a girl “leans in” only. Though I do quite a bit. I’m a person trying to enjoy and be deliberate about the greatest thing I have, which is time.
*Many might want to know more about the date than these lofty assertions. It was fine. Okay, actually, that might be another post.*