When Your Husband Sits Next To A Goddess & Other Rainy Day Baker Thoughts

rainy

It’s a rainy day and so I tried to cut the morning walk short but Jake wasn’t having any of it.  Come on, I say to him, and walk a few steps towards home.  He gives me a long stare and then glances left.   Smart dog.  Right is the park; forward is another park and both are out of the question and anyway there will be no dogs or people, only wet and mud.  Left is merely the long way home and of course I relent cursing mildly because he doesn’t try this shit with the husband, whom Jake adores more than life itself; theirs is a bromance for the ages, that’s what Jake thinks or anyway it looks like he thinks that what with all the worshipful gazing and instant obedience.  To be fair I get my share of worshipful gazes too or at least my right hand does,  The Food Bearing Hand as Jake  clearly thinks of it.  He always glances at the hand before my face which I try not to be offended by because being known in a dog’s heart as The Bringer of Food is not a bad thing at all and inspires its own dogged loyalties.  Jake  doesn’t like to be out in heavy rain but today’s umbrella defying slanty-misty-blowy affair suits him just fine.  He stands at the top of Pacific Avenue and waits as I trudge up the hill and he cuts a fine figure silhouetted against the sunrise, ears back, tail and nose up and into the tricky wind.  A construction worker hops out of his truck and Jake greets him enthusiastically and  you can see how it is just making this guy’s day, the two of them do a little dance of hello-how-are-you-aren’t-we-good-boys and by now my wool hat has reached the 50% rain saturation point but the air is relatively warm and I like the whispery sound the tires make on the wet pavement which is shiny with the reflected sunrise.  I am grateful not to be making deliveries on such a day when the narrow arteries of the FIDI are choked with delivery vehicles and those speedy little DPT munchkin cars.  green spider.pngOn the way home we pass the newly finished modern house and they have perched on the roof a huge blow up black and neon green spider wearing sunglasses with not eight but only two eyeholes just going to prove that you can spend a lot of money and still not have any taste.   On the other hand motion detectors cause it to actually turns its enormous head at our approach which startles me but this small bit of effectiveness does not redeem it anymore than Melania Trump  redeems Donald. Despite the stresses of running a 7,000 square foot bakery being inside of one is always nice on a day like today, it’s cold and blowy outside but inside it’s warm as a giant womb with nice dry hot vanilla scented air wooshing out of the convection ovens.   The wind rattles the metal floor to ceiling garage doors like zombies dying to get inside, where all is competing radio stations and the banging rattling clanking of big machinery doing its big jobs, the dog curled up on his bed in the corner of the office for once not begging to go visit all of his friends in this South San Francisco neighborhood of warehouse businesses filled with restaurants, caterers, car repair and paint companies, dry cleaners and based on the smell over by the RV storage lots, a shit ton of cannabis.We turn the final corner of the walk and the rain picks up and I channel the husband and command-not-ask Jake to come now please monsieur and also take off running because he can’t resist following me when I run and together we race up the 50 steps in front of the house and not for the first time I congratulate myself on finding a place that requires one to climb a mountain at the end of a long backbreaking day because every athlete knows the real training doesn’t begin until you are already tired. The husband calls from South Dakota because rain in the city means snow in the mountains. He is a powder hound through and through so you can imagine how I felt when he sent the text from the airport that every woman dreads “Hey guess what I am sitting next to Lindsey Vonn”  because even I am attracted to Lindsey Vonn because who could compare to Lindsey fucking Vonn she is a Viking goddess who is also a big mountain skier and she was on a box of Wheaties for God’s sake (which I bought. and ate.)  and I pray although I am an atheist that she is dumb as a rock because the husband will find this disappointing and demote her from Goddess to ordinary mortal hotness.  She looks a bit masculine the husband texts and I know he is just trying to make me feel better but I appreciate the gesture nonetheless because he also knows that I am looking at that magazine in the rack that has Lindsey posing in a bikini and skis in a real thigh burner of a position and she is fucking Hotness itself and then he texts that she wears more makeup than he expected jake sings.pngand also has a cocker spaniel and me and my make-up less face relax because no cocker spaniel can hold a candle to a chocolate labrador once they’ve gotten inside your heart they are written there forever and I’ve already texted the husband that if he leaves me for Lindsey I am taking Jake as the consolation prize which would only be fair.  The phone rings and it is Bill saying the new kitchen will be ready to tour next week and I jump up and down in the privacy of my own kitchen where the rain is lashing the windows in earnest and Jake jumps with me, and seconds later has laid the disembodied arm of his beloved stuffed orangutan at my feet and though the books say you should never let the dog win at tug of war I will let him and nonchalantly start eating a piece of toast which will cause Jake to drop the arm and begin drooling and I will give Jake the toast and seize the arm and go running down the hall waving and yelling how I have climbed the mountain and am victorious! with Jake bounding after me barking  but not loudly because we are indoors after all and he is a good dog.

jake-and-me

Working Equation: An Arithmetic of Sounds, a Subtraction of Smells

The facility is busy these days; we rent commissary space and on some days there are as many as two dozen people moving quickly and purposefully about the bakery’s bright green floor.  The almond milk makers trundle past with their pallets of bottles, dates and almonds.  The bakers roll out double rack after double rack of fragrant cookies: peanut butter, snickerdoodle, Nutella chocolate chip, butterscotch oatmeal raisin.

hansel and gretel

Indiana University Dorm Room

Everywhere you look there are ordinary items rendered Willy Wonka-ishly peculiar by their commercial outsizedness:  huge hundred gallon red plastic trash cans filled with cold coffee, three foot tall whisks, mixing bowls large enough to bathe triplets in, and ovens as large as some dorm rooms I’ve shared.

Even the cookies, baked for a well known local company, are bigger than my face.

 

mariachi

Ai caramba

The convection fans emit a soft roar; the oven racks squeak and squeal as they rotate. The wind rattles restlessly at the metal garage doors, the drone of the dishwasher with it’s telltale waterfall whoosh signaling the end of another cycle is a constant undercurrent. And weaving through it all, the radio stations and itunes playlist of the three separate work teams: mariachi and Latino pop, NPR podcasts, hits of the 80s.

steampunk

Ready to bake

Huge machinery, oversized food, workers in  white coats, hair and beard nets bustling about in hectic industry, a soundtrack that includes snatches of country western, Mexican rap and and Donald Trump shouting Win!, …it’s like a steampunk vision of life, if Keebler Elves invented steampunk.

Whenever a podcast about Trump comes on, the bakers begin denouncing him vociferously and with high good humor.

He’s going to round us up into camps! yells Tall Baker Girl, laughing (but it is  serious-faced laugh).

No no no!, says Short Baker Girl,  ‘cuz you look white. But me, oy, my whole family wouldwoman sugar skull facesbe kicked ooooouut!”  She pounds the cookie dough,  her arms sleek with muscles and tattoos.  The dough warms under sunlight streaming from overhead roof windows.   In the natural light Short Baker Girl  has an almost otherworldly glowing bronze complexion like I imagine Egyptian princesses did, and a braid of hair so lushly thick I find myself trying to sneakily touch it when she’s not looking.

trojan horseThe joke that only immigrants will take the job of Mrs. Trump is repeated many times (and did, we wonder hilariously, they all have exceptionally dainty hands?) .  We laugh loudly at the impossibility of a Trump presidency, and if there is a note of incredulity or uneasiness in the laughter, it is lost under the thumping grinding music of the vast machinery all around us.