The week Gus was born, the cutest little bakery opened just around the corner from our house. Larry’s parents were visiting, and we decided a walk to the bakery would make a perfect first outing with Gus in his stroller.
It took us all morning to get ready.
So, this is what "going somewhere" feels like now, I thought. Almost like not going anywhere. Only faster.
After what seemed like an hour had passed, the five of us arrived at the bakery, sweating, just as the owners, a husband and wife, were locking up.
“Oh, are you closing?”
“We were never open,” the wife told us.
And then, in a tone ever so slightly defensive (as if I’d personally been working her to the goddamn bone) she said: “It’s Monday. We get to take a break on Mondays.”
“This is his first big outing,” we told her, nodding toward Gus in his stroller, just trying to make friendly conversation and give them an opportunity to BEHOLD THE MIRACLE THAT HAS JUST OCCURRED RIGHT HERE IN OUR LITTLE TOWN! UNTO US A BABE WAS BORN AND WE HAVE CALLED HIM GUS!
They never glanced in Gus’s direction. Just said “We’ll be open tomorrow.”
So we turned and walked home. And the bakery around the corner seemed a little less sweet. Not that the bakers meant any harm. They just weren’t open that day. (And neither was their store.) But every time we’ve been back to the bakery since, there's been some form of unpleasantness. We'll go in after lunch, about an hour and a half before they close (at 2 p.m.), and all the racks will be empty except for one kind of cookie.
And when this happens, the bakers act like there's something wrong with me for showing up at their bakery when there's nothing to eat. Like I have some kind of problem I should probably discuss with my physician.
Now people who love this bakery (which is apparently everyone except me and Larry and our friend Ken) get extremely miffed when I criticize its absence of baked items. They become defensive and exasperated, saying “She bakes what she bakes and that’s it. If you want something good, you have to get there by noon. It’s not her fault if you get their after it’s all gone.”
And I’m sorry, but NO.
You’re a fucking BAKERY. If you’re open until 2:00, and all the baked things are always gone by noon, why do you stay open until 2:00? To point and laugh at the people like me who don’t get how bakeries “work.” Give me a break. What if my clients called me at 2:00 in the afternoon, and I said, “You should have called me earlier. I sold my last good idea about an hour ago.”
Granted, I feel this way sometimes, but I don’t say it OUT LOUD.
You know, I could deal with The Bakery if just once the owners seemed remotely pleased (or at least not annoyed) that I was there. If instead of, “We’re out of everything but toffee bars,” they were to say, “I’m sorry, everything went like hot cakes today, can I get you a cup of coffee?” It’s called customer service. And apparently, you have to be one of the star-bellied Sneetches in order to get it.
Wanting to support the neighborhood, I set my misgivings aside and went in there three days before Gus’s birthday party to ask about ordering a cake. The owner shook her head and SIGHED. SheSIGHED.
“SIGH. How many people are you having at this party?”
I told her we were having 12 kids and 15-20 adults.
She told me she could do “A round dark chocolate cake that serves 12 for $40.”
Don’t do me any favors, lady! I can go to Kroger and get the hair-net gals to slap my kid's name on an Elmo sheet cake inside of 15 minutes.
My friend recently got a cake at The Bakery for her husband’s birthday, and she got to pick the size and the flavor and the icing and everything! And she said some afternoons The Bakery woman gives her free cookies to take home to her son.
Free cookies to take home to your son? AFTER NOON?
WHERE IS SHE HIDING THEM?