When I awoke my first full day at Pawley’s I checked email and web site traffic from Walden using my hosts’ wireless connection. I do not know why I am so taken with the stats. I guess I’m still surprised that anyone reads this stuff. As my various systems awoke, it became clear that I’d need to get up. I was very happy to have a key to the front door. Every day that I don’t need The Bucket is a good one.
The family was bustling about preparing for school. M had planned to serve Chocolate croissants. I was already pretty overwhelmed that these people had invited me into their home and taken me out to dinner. Now, it appeared that M was making a special breakfast in my honor. I inferred this because they were having chocolate croissants on a school day. If that weren’t enough, it was apparent that this was not a typical event. As it turns out, croissants are a bit more time-intensive to prepare than, say, the food that the kids ate while the oven was pre-heating. It was clear to J that there was no way that the party food could possibly be done in time, and the kids had to eat. When the croissants finally came out of the oven, the kids who usually get picked up down the block were already waiting in the car. J was trying to move toward the door, using words like “running late.” M precariously balanced a paper towel and some pastries atop J’s stuff. He was not especially excited about this food since, you know, he’d already eaten. Unaware of his apparent disinterest, M asked “Do you think the other kids. . . “—the very same ones who were waiting in the car because J was already late— “. . . want a croissant too?”
It was one of those questions that has the answer built right in. M wanted people to eat the croissants. J was already late and was in no further need of victuals. It was clearly impossible for him to carry the two chocolate bombs that she had already balanced on top of the stuff he was trying to schlep, and now he was supposed to carry more? For the kids who had ALREADY EATEN BREAKFAST? I was already flattered that I’d been invited into their home for several days and was trying desperately not to be an imposition. Now M was serving a special breakfast–on a school day. Chocolate croissants? I didn’t ask for special treatment. The last thing I needed was a Pastry Incident. Working quickly, I grabbed the confections from J. I put them inside the paper towel so that the two ends formed a handle, which safely contained the oozing chocolate. I did the same with two more, for the kids already waiting in the car, and arranged them such that J could carry and ushered him out the door.
Now that he was gone, it was just me and M. She wasn’t eating a croissant. I was planning to go for a run, which if the past six months were any indication, was an activity very easily derailed. For example, I was going to go running a couple days earlier in Atlanta. I was dressed. I had my new headphones. I was out the door. I turned on my cell phone just in time to see it shut down because the battery was dead. No music. No idea what route to take. No watch to know whether I’d run two minutes or twenty. I opted instead to go back inside and fuss with pictures of cicadas. I knew that if today I were to eat one croissant, I’d end up eating three and a quart of milk, not exercising. I had to say “No, thank you.”
All was not lost, however, I did go for a run. When I returned there were no croissants to be seen. I did a bit of searching, though, and found them in a press-to-close bag. It was delicious, and a harbinger of many more tasty treats to come. It also became clear that though life with me parked out front was decidedly different from status quo, I was not an imposition.