There is pure joy in settling down with a good glass of wine, a fresh baguette, and good olive oil. Preferably alone so there is not only the freedom to let olive oil drip down my fingers and chin, but also the freedom to eat the whole baguette without sharing. Don’t get me wrong, I am a sharer, I enjoy sharing meals with friends, but sometimes I don’t want anyone getting between me and a whole baguette. I like my carbs.
It wasn’t until recently that this pure joy was tainted by a partially real, partially imagined threat. I was walking home along 2nd Avenue and, as all of you New Yorkers know, there is massive construction for the 2nd Avenue subway line that may or may not be realized in my lifetime. It’s dirty and dusty and there are random bits of debris flying everywhere when they are working. On this particular day it was also hot so the drip of AC’s was ever present as I walked the nine blocks home. While I was walking I realized that the baguette bag was not sealed, none of the fresh ones are. As I stared at the golden brown crust peaking out of my grocery bag I came to the horrifying realization that my beautiful bread was being exposed to all of this junk, i.e., all of these germs. Not one to waste food, I did enjoy the baguette when I got home, but I needed an extra glass of wine to fully relax, and convince myself that I had enough alcohol swimming through my system to kill any wayward germs looking for a new home in my body.
For a short period of time I simply refrained from roaming too close to the fresh bread section of the grocery store so that I wouldn’t be tempted to cart home a germ infested carbohydrate feast. I seemed capable of coming up with only one solution to exposing my poor little baguette to the harsh realities of the streets of NYC, bending it in half so the whole thing fit in my bag without any sections sticking out. While feasible, I just didn’t want to mar the beauty of the baguette by folding it in half. Then I saw a sight more beautiful than any other. There, on the streets of my neighborhood, carrying a bag with a baguette from the grocery store I prefer to buy my baguettes from, was a woman walking with the open side of the baguette bag facing the bottom of her grocery bag. Problem solved! How had I not thought of this? How had my little pea brain never thought, “open side down”? I’m guessing I won’t be winning the MacArthur Genius Award anytime soon.