On bread

Chances are, you have already been the recipient of fallout from my current Bread Phase.
I have been posting pics of nearly every loaf I bake to Instagram, and find myself unable to STFU about my bread efforts while talking to friends. Or when corresponding via WhatsApp.
A friend told me, “I have to admit, I didn’t finish reading your bread story because I am just not interested in baking” so she gets extra bread updates now. I think of it as a meta-apology for unwanted bread stories.
I asked my wife, “did I tell you about (private bread story involving a dream)?” to which she replied, “yeah about ten times a day.”
Yesterday I started telling my therapist about my bread story phase, but my enthusiasm took over and I ultimately just told her a bunch of bread stories instead. While talking, i was thinking, god this isn’t going where I intended…
(Currently, I have 3 reliable recipes that i alternate and modify – rye sourdough, wheat sourdough (SanFrancisco sourdough style), and rye/wheat mix non-sourdough, which is a good one when you’re in a “hurry” because it takes only 3-4 hours instead of 24+ hours.)
Good old bread.

The spider Gamma warned me about

I was watering the back yard at dusk. Right when my face hit the invisible web, I thought, ah, this is that big fat spider Gamma was going on about.
The neighbors probably thought I was having an LSD flashback. I danced and clawed at my face and hair with one hand, and squirted everything with the hose I held in the other.
I finished watering (front too, and the stuff in pots) and went inside and opened a kitchen drawer to sort flours when a big goddamned bumblebee flew out!!!

  1. A big black bee flew out of the kitchen drawer!
  2. What was a big black bee doing in the drawer?
  3. Why is the big black bee flying so funny?
  4. And why is it following me everywhere I go?
  5. Why is it still following me?
  6. That is not bee-like behavior.
  7. Oh, it’s the spider!
  8. Mother!
  9. fucker!
  10. Get it off me!

Yeah so I got it off. I clawed at my leg and stuff trying to find the web it was still hanging on and that i was sort of towing it around with and eventually found it and was sort of dangling it there when it looked up at me and said the following:

That’s the problem with you Americans.

It went on: “Not only, but especially you Americans. Never have I seen a bunch of people more brainwashed than you. You are, as a group, people who need a little perspective. You need to get out more.”
“Well, I did emigrate to Austria,” I said.
“I said, ‘as a group’,” said the spider.
“You pledge allegiance to a fucking flag,” said the spider. “And no one knows your Pledge of Allegiance started out as publicity for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Most of you still think Europeans discovered America. You think Democrats are leftists. Democrats today are to the right of Nixon.”
“Ok,” I said. “But I agree with everything you said.”
“Of course you do, I’m a figment of your imagination. You made me up. Spiders don’t really talk.”
“Actually you really did scare the shit out of me hanging off me like that.”
“How the fuck do you think I felt? No but listen, one of the most dangerous things you’ve been brainwashed to believe? That history is made by the Great Man (or the Great Woman).”
“Americans are always looking for a savior. Other people too, but Americans are especially noxious about it. Kennedy! Obama! (We shall ignore for the purposes of our argument their emphasis on organizing and collective action). Greta Thunberg is here, we can all relax, she’ll save the environment,” said the spider.
“And now everyone is losing their shit about RBG passing away.”
“Well…” I said.
“It is sad. It is sad when a person dies, I get that. Even I, a spider who deals death to countless insects caught in my web every day get that. And Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a great woman. But she wasn’t a Great Woman. How can anyone be so blind to think a zillion year old lady was going to protect us from You-Know-Who, that other “Great Man” (to his cultists) like some kind of kajira battle?”
“No Great Person has ever done shit. You morons don’t get that. Stuff gets done when the guillotines come out. The torches and pitchforks. I am speaking somewhat hyperbolically. Somewhat.”
“Well, it’s not like there are no protests,” I said.
“It’s not enough.”
The spider looked at me, and I looked at the spider.
“General strike,” I said.
The spider nodded. “Now take me back outside. To the hydrangea, if you don’t mind.”

Rowr rowr

Woman on subway platform, through mask: Rmpf rmf mm grmf.
Man on subway platform, in a big hurry to get on the train that is stopping because he has to ride it a lot of stops to catch another train he doesn’t want to miss and trying to remember whether he knows the woman or if she is confusing him with someone else: I beg your pardon? (but because he is wearing a mask it is also unclear.)
Woman: Rmpf rowr rowr grmf!!!
(Train doors open)
Man: I’m really sorry, I can’t understand you, masks huh, I have to…
Woman: (grabs man’s sleeve)
Man: …get on this train.
Man: (Pulls loose, gets on train, followed by woman, who he is increasingly certain he does not know)
Woman: Rowr rowr grmf rmpf!!! Rowr!!!
Man: (quickly walks length of train away from woman, until she is no longer audible)
Man: (looks at phone, watching reflection of train interior behind him, can’t see anyone rushing him with intent murderous or otherwise).
Man: (switches trains at appointed station)
Man: (finds empty seat, opens book, reads)

Yes, so

Establishing shot: Galaxy
Quick zoom from there to face of (anti-virus) masked man as he – walking down crowded sidewalk – realizes he is audibly muttering the word, “idiots”.
Over and over.
His eyes, as he realizes this, express a complex emotion. Like, he agrees with himself, but he hadn’t realized he was saying it out loud.
Saying it at all.
Later someone tells him, I quit reading your bread-baking story halfway through bc bread baking doesn’t… I just don’t bake bread.
Later, someone else he is telling about hiking abruptly changes the topic to the virus.
Yes, he says. The virus.
Yes. So.
On his lunch break he walks to the store and buys a sandwich. All the way there, crows scream in the trees lining the street. It feels like a ticker tape parade, just with screaming crows.
That cheers him up.
In the trees.
On a stop sign.
Atop a parked car.
Standing in a gutter.
Watching him from a fence.
A woman zipping down the sidewalk on a scooter nearly hits him from behind. He hadn’t noticed her at all.
Perched on a telephone wire.
He resolves to ask his new therapist what one can do to not be a boring old fart.
Atop a moving truck.
But he knows already. Lose 20 pounds and keep your mouth shut.
Standing in the grass.
Flying over his shoulder so close he feels the wind.
Screaming, screaming.