It’s probably been a decade since I last thought about Tag. Yes, as in, “Tag. You’re It.” I was never a big fan. Probably, because I’m not to keen on the idea of being chased. It triggers primal instincts of survival, shooting seven-year-old adrenalin levels to unnerving heights, and revealing how natural selection is alive and well on every elementary school playground. If push comes to shove, we will kill Piggy.
Stress levels peak when It has zeroed in on you, as the target, and for the last ten minutes you’re focus has been wandering to the blue-flavored fruit roll-up stowed in your cubby. At some point, the voluntary game of Tag transformed into stomach-sinking fatigue and the dwindling will to survive. The rest of the herd scatters and the game becomes one-on-one. If you look back, you’ll use your momentum and you will be tagged. The only option: You must keep running.
On the bad days in the bakeshop, this is the feeling. It feels like a never-ending game of tag, where every mousse, cookie, cake and meringue is out for blood, and if you stop for even a moment, you will lose. Or worse, you will be It.
While on most occasions, the kitchen feels like a well-choreographed ballet, and on really great days, its movement can even attain the excellence of a Michael Jackson music video. These are the days that feed me.
On the days I’m left hungry (sometimes both figuratively and literally), I’d like to sit down on the floor in the middle of the bakeshop and shout, “I don’t want to play anymore!” The scene of my aching body strewn out on the floor, flour on my face, fruit puree down my apron and batter caked in my hair, is not a pretty one…I know because I’ve seen it out the corners of my eyes during particularly long games of tag.
Still, despite the momentary temptations of the floor, I think I’ll keep on my feet and wait for the rhythm to get back in synch. “Thriller” might be next on the queue and I want to be ready to dance.