Yesterday was Monday, I guess, so I pulled up myself up by the bootstraps to make a third attempt at baking bread. Gourmet ran their June spread with a series of recipes for totally DIY hamburgers, buns to condiments, and although I like hamburgers even less than I like baking, I’m apparently helpless to resist totally meaningless challenges.
At Shaw’s, kind of mindlessly eyeing a small jar of mustard seeds while wondering if King Arthur’s flour is actually better than the store brand, my attention was piqued by two Eastie Characters down the aisle to my right. A man, mid-thirties, wearing sweats (ew) and a woman of indeterminate age with way too much purple eye makeup. She looked like something out of a “this-is-your-brain-on-meth” campaign – ravaged, wily, brandishing a half-eaten jelly donut as she talked – and the two of them had a long chat about premade pie crusts, in that overloud familiar way that people around here seem to address one another.
I should have ran. I was in no shape to get drawn into some bizarre conversation with strangers. But I still hadn’t figured out which bag of flour to buy, so when the woman had finished her snack and wandered off, Sweatsuit Guy set his sights on me.
“That just makes me sick, can you believe that?”
I wasn’t certain how to respond.
“I mean, whaddis she on drugs or something, walkin around like that? Whaddis she, drunk? High? That just makes me sick, people walkin around like that, all outta their minds. I mean, I dunno about no drugs, I never done nothin like that, but she’s supposed to be a LADY, y’know, a LADY, and there she goes walkin around like that. Eatin the donut in the store so she doesn’t have to pay for it, I mean, that’s like the lowest of the low. The donut! I mean, can you believe that? Y’know?”
Sweatsuit Guy had remarkably strong feelings, it seemed, on public inebriation and pastry theft. Also, weirdly bright eyes. I needed a way out, before he asked me for money or followed me home or something. I needed to extricate myself. Stat. But how?
I blinked. “So, did you take her advice on the pie crust?”
His face lit up in a huge, friendly smile, and I saw there was nothing to fear, there had never been. “Aaah, fuck no! Go on with that shit.” He gave me a wave and wishes for a pleasant afternoon, and thusly we parted ways.
Also, in the process of Bread Baking Attempt Number III, I realized why most previous oven-related endeavors have ended in such colossal failure. Apparently, once you turn our oven ON, it doesn’t actually regulate its’ interior temperature. I had the dial set for 250, and 30 minutes later, my new in-oven thermometer (procured by my wonderful husband while I was away) read 500 degrees. Who knew!