Attention Must Be Paid

She’d asked for a bagel with cream cheese to take for breakfast.  Nothing fancy. Her go-to breakfast. “With a slice of tomato, if we have any?” she asked hopefully. I knew we had tomato.

A cheddar bagel looked interesting. I sliced and toasted it, smeared on some cream cheese, added the requested tomato, sprinkled on a little salt and pepper, and crumbled on a slice of bacon. Because when there’s bacon in the fridge, why not? I wrapped the sandwich in a cloth napkin to absorb condensation and secured it in a Ziploc to keep from making a mess, tucked it into her bag and sent her off to work.

This text message came when she got to her office and opened the package:

How could you have possibly known exactly what I needed to feel human – even when I didn’t?

She’s given to hyperbole, I know. But still–“exactly what I needed to feel human”?  I was following the motto of our favorite spice shop: “Love people, cook them tasty food.”

We all need food to “feel human.” Why shouldn’t it be as good as it can be? I was just paying attention.  She prefers savory bagels to sweet ones. (I’m pretty much the opposite, at least for breakfast bagels. But then, I’m given to understatement rather than hyperbole.) Any minute now, fresh tomatoes will disappear, except for the flavorless tomato-shaped water balloons at the supermarket, so it makes sense to add tomato to a bagel while we can. The bacon, though, was just a little surprise. I know she likes bacon, too. Just paying attention, like she does for me: among many other things, this life-long tea drinker has developed terrific coffee-making skills.

I got it wrong last night, though.  I forgot that, in her world, fruit does not go on ice cream. She spooned the offending plums into my bowl and, I’m pretty sure, forgave me.

One response to “Attention Must Be Paid

  1. Pingback: 180 | Dinner at the Country House

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