Sitting at Breads on Oak, a vegan bakery and cafe in the Leonidas neighborhood of New Orleans. Thinking I’d love to work here. Been wanting to learn how to bake bread, as well as other baked goods, for years, especially after my stint in Berkeley and my introduction to ACME. The fact that everything here is vegan is inspiring on a whole other level though.
I’m reading Tropic of Cancer while munching, and intermittently glancing out the window to watch the sparrows flit and flutter about from tree to chair to sidewalk to table…. and the fog is thick today; thicker than yesterday, as though it wants terribly to cover all the blighted parts of the city, like makeup laid over a blemish. It rather softens the brightest parts of the city too, as if to bring everything to the same meridian, because, after all, we are the same people walking the same streets, so let us walk them together eye to eye, hand in hand. I wonder if a disaster, such as Hurricane Katrina, that swamps and levels a whole city brings all classes together in a shared humanness and in appreciation of the place they all call home.
And so Im thinking about how great this city is, and this bakery, and I’m watching the sparrows, and the people who are so like the sparrows, but I’m also reading Tropic of Cancer, and there is this great conflict inside me between the man who wishes to settle down somewhere in order to learn to paint, to sculpt, to collage, to garden, to bake bread, to make pottery etc., and the one who wishes to travel the world in order that he might see and know himself more clearly because it is only in our relationships to other people, cultures, environments that we can come to understand and see with clarity ourselves. Because as we wander through foreign places—worlds unknown to us, a stranger—those places are absorbed through our senses and sifted through the filing cabinet of our prejudices and preconceived notions in our mind, and so seeing them as they truly are we can abandon our false ideas and our faulty notions because it is only in experience that we may find knowledge.