Friday, October 23, 2015

Food Cart Project Part XXXII: Thoughts...

A good friend of mine from high school died yesterday. I hadn't seen her in years, but we'd stayed in touch sporadically through social media, and I'd remained close to her family over the years, particularly with her step-brother, Dan. He's one of my favorite people in this world, and a guy I still spend time with on a regular basis, even though we live in different states. Dan's step-sister Gretchen died far too young, a few years younger than I am now, and her passing has me thinking about my own life, and the crossroads I'm standing at now.

I'm more than a bit intimidated by what it is I'm about to do, and it's not lost on me that the idea of turning one's passion into a career is, even under the best of circumstances, arguably an exercise in foolish naiveté. But despite all common sense, I can't ignore the constant nagging pull of that passion, either. I find myself, mid-way through life, thinking a lot about food these days. I think about how it's defined my sensibilities. I think about how it's sustained my relationships. I think about how it's informed my opinions, and I think about how it's served as a context through which I've navigated my experiences over the years, and how it's enabled me to grow and investigate my own capacities. As I've come to regard food as a creative medium, I now see those abstract yet familiar objects, colorful and tactile, enticing or mundane, that we take for granted with every trip to the grocery store, as the foundation of a sort of language, one that becomes more native to me with each passing day, week, month and year.

I've learned a lot of things in the past year or so. I've learned how to strip rust from a flatbed trailer, and how to prime and paint the bare metal. I've learned how to replace axles and leaf springs. I've learned how to frame out a floor, four walls and a roof. I've learned how to install sheathing, insulation, FRP, siding, trim and sheet stainless. I've learned how to hang doors and windows. Flooring. Lighting. Counters. Sinks. Plumbing. Health department regulations... I've learned all of that. I've also learned about sourcing ingredients, food costing, layering flavors, designing recipes, service logistics, POS and accounting software... What I've really learned in all of this, though, is how much I don't know, and how much I have to learn.

What is it that leads us to abandon the path that those who loved us the most did their best to set us upon? What is it about that cliff we all inevitably encounter that prompts us to leap, despite everything that's conditioned us to the contrary? Why is it that desire and security have never been able to exist in the same place, and why can't all of this shit just be simple, for fuck's sake? And why don't any of us have any idea where any of this is heading? I have no answers to these questions, obviously, nobody does. But we all face them nevertheless, and we all do our best to answer them in our own way.

My best guess is a food cart... God help me.

Rest in peace, Gretchen.

No comments: