Join me, won’t you, on a strange little journey that functions as a peculiar microcosm of everything going on right now.
So I eat bread sometimes. Not often, because carbs and blood sugar and blah blah blah, but once in a great while I get an Urge.
Lately, meaning in the time of COVID-19, I have been listening to my Urges. This is because Urges represent bright flashes of effervescent excitement in what has otherwise become a slog through a gray, repetitive world. Urges are a sign that I’m alive.
Everyone has their own domestic challenges with quarantine, to say nothing of seismic historical events taking place that are long, long, loooooooong overdue. BlackLivesMatter, Trans rights, and a complete overhaul of the healthcare system, to name a few. I don’t march, but I do retweet and donate to causes. I read. I inform myself on what makes a good and useful ally. Most important of all, I VOTE. Changes are taking place in the country’s mental landscape, and being present for all the discussions is important, but also tiring.
But otherwise my days are routine – get up, turn on work laptop, work, write, exercise, wash dishes, do laundry, feed and care for cat, take walks, watch movies or television, haunt Twitter, water plants, wash self, communicate with friends. It’s easy to lose track of days or even forget what month it is – I only know it’s June right now because of all the afternoon thunderstorms, which are regular as prunes in Florida.
And because it’s easy to lose track of things, I forgot about my best friend’s son’s birthday. I AM SCUM. I knew about my best friend’s birthday, but somehow I thought her son’s birthday was on the same day as hers. So, in order to beg forgiveness, I set out looking to put together The Perfect Birthday Package, one that would treat both of them to something nice.
Enter the Small Batch Jam Company.
They showed up in my Instagram feed and let me tell you I was unprepared to be brought to tears by a picture of jammy toast. I wept… wept like a child. Strange times indeed, my friend.
Maybe it’s because I’ve not had human physical contact in months; maybe it’s all the horrible truths of how my country is broken and has been for some time in ways I was aware of and even more broken in ways which I wasn’t aware; maybe it’s the lack of competent political leadership; maybe it’s work stuff, which I won’t go into; maybe it’s the fact that the novel I’ve been working on for five years and that focuses on the Watch of a high-fantasy setting has to be rewritten in a great many ways to ensure that readers would even touch it with a ten-foot pole; maybe it’s all the pictures of people losing eyes to rubber bullets; maybe it’s peri-menopause.
Swimming Upstream To the Jam
In short, I had an Urge. Nothing dangerous or self-destructive – my Urges don’t roll that way. You could easily classify them as the Call of the Mild. But I had a powerful biological imperative to make a PBB&J (the extra B is bacon) with that fancy jam.
WHATEVER it could have been, suddenly that picture of jammy, peenah-bahddery toast was the only thing I wanted in this world. Forget owning a house, forget Adam Driver, forget fame and fortune from writing, I would burn it all to have that goddamn sandwich in my hands. I mean I wouldn’t burn Adam Driver but you get what I mean.
The point is, I wanted a thing. I wanted that thing for myself and also for my best friend. And I think she’d appreciate it – I mean, THE FLAVORS! They include:
- pink guava
- rosemary prosecco clementine (!)
- passion fruit
- Turkish fig ginger
- strawberry lavender (!!)
- spiced pear vanilla (!!!!!!!!)
- Riesling ginger pear jam (!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Granted, some of those flavors can be found in my local grocery. But most can’t!
I shared my find with a friend, who pointed out that a local market had artisan jams that were quite good. Smiling Goat Goods was sold in a shop only about five miles from my house! I talked myself out of ordering from Small Batch (THIS TIME) and resolved to check out the local place after my workday ended.
Naturally, my work teleconference dragged on past workday’s end so I said TO HELL WITH IT and set out for the local market while listening. Also in keeping with certain universal truths, it was rush hour and everyone drove at least 5 miles under the speed limit while changing lanes without signaling. It’s still Florida, after all.
FINALLY, I reached the market only to find, to my embarrassment and horror, that I had forgotten my mask. Rushed right out the door without it! I deliberated on going home, then decided to use a paper towel over my face instead and reached for my glove box only to remember – SHIT. I am driving a rental because my car’s in the shop for repairs due to being rear-ended 3 weeks ago and I have none of my usual supplies.
Why Didn’t They Just Try Ignoring It In 1920?
I reached the shop and observed many people outside without masks. Many, many people. A troubling amount of people. And then I noticed – nobody was masked. Everyone was sitting outside on the patio as if it was Tuesday, June 9th 2019 instead of Tuesday, June 9th 2020. Imagine my shock at realizing that if we just ignore a deadly disease, it goes away. If only they had known during the Spanish Flu epidemic! Or Ebola!
I was still on a jam hunt so I ran to the shop that purportedly sold the jam, only to find it closed and locked up. I ran back to my car as if taking fire.
Although that jam source was closed off, others remained, namely just the grocery store. It would fulfill my short-term desire for a PBJ warmed so the PB was melty and the jam warm on buttery toasted bread, while I could still indulge the long-term desire of ordering some ridiculous fancy jams for myself and have some sent to my best friend. Swinging by the house for my mask, I got the necessary bits from Publix, got home, and … ate something else for dinner. Because my blood sugar was dropping and also because I wanted to savor the sandwich. This food item wasn’t going to be a bundle of calories, it was going to be more than that. It was going to change my life. Slapping it together to be housed over the sink while staring into the middle distance isn’t good enough. It must be planned, developed, executed.
I plan to order some jams from Small Batch Co. this Friday, when I get paid. In the meantime I’ll make do with some local stuffs.
So here’s the recipe for the Ultimate PBB&J. Enjoy!
Put jam on one piece of bread, peanut butter on the other. Fry bread in butter. In a separate pan, fry bacon.
Put all that shit together and eat it. If no parts wound up on the floor or elsewise outside your mouth, you did the thing right. Be proud of yourself!
The point is: Listen to your Urges, within reason. They are trying to look after you.