Monday, September 01, 2014

the egg and the pigeon

1. all my omelets become scrambles

I’m lying here in bed, full of eggs and fresh tomatoes. Yesterday Nicole and I saw The Hundred-Foot Journey, a movie that will make you want to cook an omelet. It takes place in the present day—as evidenced by the presence of molecular gastronomy, racism that disguises itself as nationalism and a fleeting glimpse of a cell phone—but you would not know it from all the bicycles, cobblestone and charmingly eroding cottages, all shot in the same buttery light as the food that the main character cooks.

Eat, drink, homme, femme.
The movie is about a snooty French restaurant that competes with a new Indian restaurant across the street. It’s a nostalgic, fanciful and predictable movie, but also one that treats its characters with love and respect. It is middle-of-the-road—the characters literally kiss in the middle of the road that cuts between the restaurants—but in the best way. A movie you would take your mom to, but which would remind you that previous generations have plenty to teach us.

It’s been so nice to have a three-day weekend and to stretch out in my own imagined buttery light, to remember the things that center me while reminding myself that it’s fall (all but technically and weather-wise) and time to buckle down, train for that 5K I registered for and read serious books. I mean, I make these resolutions every few days, but they seem more doable when accompanied by an external change of seasons.

2. battle coo of the pigeon mom

Speaking of inspiration, I’ve been admiring the extinct animal plates my other friend Nicole is selling on Etsy. “There is an extinct totem animal in each of us,” her page claims, so I immediately started considering mine. (AK recently pointed out, with minimal judgement, how every story becomes a story about me. Other friends have observed this over the years in kind and unkind ways. SIGH. I should call this blog Bread and Bread and My Own Fucking Bellybutton. But it’s my blog and I will navel-gaze if I want to.)

Spirit of a survivor, bones of the massacred.
I chose the Passenger Pigeon. In my new favorite book The Still Point of the Turning World, Emily Rapp describes herself as a Dragon Mom; she sees this club of mothers of dying children as fierce, fire-breathing and mythic (after all, in a society with a low child mortality rate, you don’t encounter dragons every day). And of course we’ve all heard of Tiger Moms, who make their kids practice violin nine hours a day for their own good.

If I’m fortunate enough to become a mom, I will be a Pigeon Mom. Pigeon Moms have taken the world’s shit. They are greasy and most often missing toes. They don’t seem mighty on the surface—speak too loudly and they’ll flutter off. But they’ll return almost immediately. They will get those donut crumbs you dropped. They will feed their little squabs, the one baby animal that lacks an online following.

Some ugly ducklings grow up to be very stately looking pigeons, thank you very much.
They are scrappy, persistent, imperfect, un-admired and numerous. Maybe you’re one yourself. On one hand, they’re survivors, making the best of things in any eave not covered in nails or netting. They do what is necessary. On the other hand, consider their extinct ancestors—who were also considered pests, who were wiped out because no one can survive everything. Pigeon Moms are breakable. Pigeon Moms (and of course I mean Pigeon People, who may or may not be parents or female) bounce back, almost—but not quite—infinitely.

My friend Jamie had a bird-rescuer friend. Once she made a comment in his presence about pigeons being rats with wings (which, again, I would consider a compliment; what’s cuter and smarter than a flying rat?). The bird rescuer, who had really looked closely at pigeons, said: “But they’re beautiful flyers.”

What’s your extinct totem animal?

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