Good Friday! I know, that was yesterday, but this week we got our asses kicked so here we are, a day late. Drop kicked really, from a height unnamed only to be sent sailing back up by a boot made of lead and fall right on back down to meet this unwavering rock with all of our bones. Don’t get me wrong, things are going great! Today. The sun is out. Tyler brought me flowers. The mountain, she’s been climbed. But none of us are exempt from a fail or a flail or a level-10 meltdown right now, not even us.
It might have started with a small fire in a small smoker that we purchased for the small price of $75 on the internet two years ago; this investment has paid dividends like a good Craig’s list buy should, but you can’t smoke briskets fat side down. If you did, you would most likely initiate a grease fire. Maybe more aptly described, an inferno that would be mistaken for one of the villainous creatures in Greek mythology who, when owed, cracks open the very crust of the planet we walk upon to swallow its pay in flesh; in this case it was about six briskets whole (no one was injured, thank you for the concern). As we put out the literal fire, metaphorical blazes continued birthing. More orders rolled in. There was a point at which we were packing Passover orders and realized we were behind. That point was right pretty much the second we started. Then we realized we lacked not only time, but also, we didn’t have enough brisket! There is no “hey, fire a brisket on the fly please?” Nope. A brisket is not a fried egg you can just whip up with apologies five minutes late. Then we realized it was very likely to rain on our entire parking lot packing operation. These details coalesced with other minor-in-any-other-circumstances-type of offenses (see: the person who trolled us on Instagram for having plastic lids when we posted about sweet morning crew making coffees for the pm gang; a tasteless lecture from from an angry customer in the midst of trying to solve said brisket shortage, among other things) and aligned in me a muddy rage. It simmered. I mainlined the guilt inherent in my bloodline, a most meta kind of mainlining. We were staring down a large problem of the worst kind; we might be about to under deliver on a promise, on a Jewish holiday no less. By some miracle of Elijah (Tyler), we found more brisket and raced against the clock to get them smoking. I made a delivery to a wrong address and as I reversed up a hill (or more accurately a ninety degree angle, top of Michelteronea, know it?) the ’97 lurched forward and I heard a bag go rolling. The bag was soaked with brisket-juice and fell apart with my ego; the contents of both rolled pathetically into the street. I returned to home base a mess, ready to pack it up, but nowhere near out of the woods. All we could do was wait. In an alternate universe, I would have raised my hands overhead and spiked a brisket down like I was Homer Jones himself. Surely this was the end zone. After that I would have kicked a cardboard box which was only guilty of being proximate to my foot, and stormed into the shipping container to slam a barstool (already broken, totally justified) repeatedly, and would have thrown it even, like a scene from King Kong. And since we are, in fact, living in an alternate universe here, I did all of the above. I raged. And then I called my friend Jordan who hates when people cry, and I let the flood gates part. He’s a good friend, and said something wise, which I’d like to take credit for; he pointed out that we are all looking for somewhere to put our anger. No one knows how to deal with all this. And though we’ve been scrambling to do everything in our power to soothe your emotions with homemade food and wine and jokes and tender love and care, and very technically advanced cooking videos, this week, we cracked and cried and skinned our knees. Then we salved our souls with good wine and laughed that exhausted kind of laugh you’re rewarded with only after you walk through the grease fire. That’s just life right now. It’s ok to freak out every now and then. But there is no point in wishing for our yesterdays back or holding our breath for an un-promised tomorrow. And though it may feel trying and slow and lonely more than it feels otherwise, this chapter will be a blip on the radar and a spit in the ocean as far as time is concerned. Don’t turn away from this moment or try to cheat it; no matter how bored or sad or lost you might feel, let us not bend the rules to our liking just because we don’t have our every pleasure or luxury at our fingertips. Let’s take it as an opportunity to be still with what we have, which is surely enough is it not? To really be home, with family, with ourselves, with our own inner worlds. I say sink into the discomfort like it’s a hot bath. Welcome it. We are mandated to be home right now, but it’s up to us to make that mean something.