December 21, 2011

No, I don’t mean the turn of the century disease. Or the overwhelming amount of buying and wanting and getting and giving that goes on this time of year. I mean being totally consumed by something all at once, thoroughly. It has been that kind of day for me. In all honesty, I am not a focused person. I admire Scott for his concentration and intensity, if he sits down to do something, he will do it with his full attention for however long it takes to get it done. I am not like that. If I sit down to say, write a paper, within seconds I can be back up getting a glass of water, staring out the window, looking at cookie recipes, checking to see if my passport safely arrived in Philadelphia (which reminds me…). But today was not like that.

I went to a knife skills class, and for that three hours, it never occurred to me to check my email, let alone remember that I own a device that does a thousand distracting things no matter where I am. I did not look up, I didn’t notice that the room that I was in had no windows, I didn’t search the walls for a clock. The only thing that mattered, the thing that took up my attention, was whether I was cutting properly, making perfect, tiny, two millimeter carrot cubes. It was beautiful and precise. I learned other things, too, like that you should buy all vegetables and just about everything whole, and how restaurants use every part of everything (almost) that comes into the kitchen. It’s like there are little secret stores of flavor everywhere.

After lunch with a friend–equally as engaging–I took a rainy stroll through the Union Square farmers market. It’s perhaps one of the most consuming places for me, even on a day like today that’s terribly gray and drippy. We’re going away and I couldn’t really buy any vegetables, so today I was drawn to a maple sugar stall, where they were selling maple sugar bars–really just bits of tart dried apricot and cashews barely held together by maple candy. Chewy and crunchy, salty, tart and sweet all at once. I also stopped by a stall selling grains, each seed of farro and freekah a promise that could come alive with some water and time.

Now I’m home, sitting at my computer and I was supposed to do work and got distracted in a completely consumed way reading about a husband and wife that started a tomato sauce company and another that started a clothing company with super cute clothes. It was light enough when I came home that I didn’t turn lights on and now I feel like a creep at a bright computer in the middle of a totally dark room.

It feels good to be focused, consumed. It’s satisfying. Perhaps I don’t need to turn the lights on yet. I can just be absorbed in the dark for a little while longer, today, I probably wouldn’t notice anyway.



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