Apr 10, 2010

De Robertis

I've made a few sort of important decisions in the last few days that on the surface probably look a bit strange. Mostly because they've all consisted of walking away from opportunities, and not too many opportunities have presented themselves in the last year, so walking away from anything at all feels a bit odd, even to me, and I'm used to making odd decisions about what direction to take my life. But at the moment my internal compass seems to have a pretty clear idea about things, and when that happens I generally feel like it's probably important to follow along.

Last night I passed by this old bakery named De Robertis on 2nd Ave., though, and remembered one time that I had a clear sense of what I should do but didn't do it. It was about six years ago, and I was looking for a waitressing job. I knew that at that point in my food service career I could probably find a pretty well-paying one, so I'd gone by Balthazar and they'd sent me to Pastis and I was supposed to start training the next week. But meanwhile I'd passed by De Robertis and seen a help wanted sign in the window.

I'd passed by the place before and never thought much of it. But that day I got this really strong sense that I should work there, that in fact my whole life was running with this current that had brought me exactly to that little bakery at exactly that moment. Which was strange because there was nothing about the place that particularly appealed to me. I imagined the customers mostly consisted of old Italian ladies and old-school East Village residents. I also imagined the pastries were probably dry, that the cake frosting left a pasty layer of shortening on your tongue, and that the same cakes stayed in the window for years on end.

Inside, I think, there was a black and white tiled floor, a bunch of rickety tables, and lots of brightly colored Italian cookies in a case. I talked to the woman behind the counter about the job, but my urge to work there made so little sense to me that after I moment I left and never went back.

Every once in a while, though, I wonder what would have happened if I had worked there instead of at Pastis, especially since so many of the things that have happened in my life since then have sprung, at least in part, from that job. Which maybe means that even when you don't follow your gut things can still turn out okay, and for some reason I find that comforting.

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