To my birthday cake
I haven’t owned a birthday cake in 24 years. So I decided that this year I must have a birthday cake. It is probably the first time I can order a cake and not think about the consequence of ordering one. I haven’t thought of the colour, shape, size or inscription yet but I will get that cake. I want it so much that each time I try to imagine a cake; a different one pops up.
And the truth is I haven’t been looking at cakes at all.
I am so excited.
When placing the order I picked the wildest flavours and thought of colours I wouldn’t normally think of. Orange, Navy Blue. No, I do not think of those normally. The only time you will catch me in them is if someone asked me to wear them.
I also do not like cakes very much. Too sweet. And they never went down with anything carbonated. Too much stimulation if you ask me. No, it is not a palate thing. It just is. There is the drink fizzing in your mouth heightening everything and then there is the sharp sweetness of a cake. Do you know that your entire brain comes to attention at the taste of cake? And I don’t like it when a particular gustatory theme evokes that kind of worship from my tongue. So there. Not a lot of cake for me. I tire after a slice. I hope the carrot cake is different.
Yeah, I asked for a carrot cake. I watched a Roy Wood Jr. short and in it, he talked about Smitty who ate two rotisserie chickens and a slice of carrot cake to go whenever he came to the buffet parlour. I haven’t been to a buffet parlour but I can say that I can eat two rotisserie chickens. Not at once, no. I will burst. My eating habits are weird. I eat like a little mouse. Nibble, nibble at the food until it goes. I finish my food cold if I finish it at all. I sort of hate getting served because they always serve too much and then I hate serving myself because I never take enough and the food finishes when I am ready for round two. When I eat, I eat six times a day. When I don’t eat. I eat a maximum of two times a day.
Maybe this is why I never get fat. I am never eating. For a cooking-obsessed chef, I have the worst eating habits. I tend to disagree with that objective fact because I like to think the number of tastings and raw foods I eat when cooking make up for the bad food habits. But truth is, I love to see people eat more than I like to eat.
So, I think that the carrot cake, I am not going to have much if it all. People around me will eat the cake. Yes, they will.
Inner Shammah: I think you are afraid of cakes.
Me: No, I’m not.
Inner Shammah: Or just food in general, I cannot determine accurately.
Me: Did you just move your glasses?
Inner Shammah: I wear glasses.
Me: You do now. It makes you look…you.
Inner Shammah: Hmmn… I think you are afraid of food.
Me: If you insist. What do you think I fear about Food?
Inner Shammah: Or maybe it’s not fear, it is reverential. Maybe you have so much respect for it that you worship it.
Me: Make up your mind.
Inner Shammah: I am investigating here. When you see food, what do you think of?
Inner Shammah: Only?
Me: No, I see it as a tool. Like an effective machine. Then I start to see it as a community.
Inner Shammah: Now we are getting somewhere.
Me: Where are we going?
Inner Shammah: Hopefully to a place where we can get you and food in close quarters and have a purely communal relationship.
Me: You are saying I don’t commune with food right now?
Inner Shammah: I’m saying, there’s a chance that you don’t see food for what it truly is because to you it is a tool, a machine you say.
Me: What does that have to do with anything?
Inner Shammah: It means that you are possibly very much separated from food and the process of making it so there is a disconnection somewhere.
Me: Disconnec- But they say it tastes good.
Inner Shammah: Oh, it tastes good bro.
Me: You know…
Inner: And that baffles me.
Inner Shammah: Joking! I do not know what your food tastes like. I don’t eat remember.
Me: You don’t?
Inner Shammah: No, I am ephemeral. I don’t exist in this dimen-
Me: You do now.
Inner Shammah: No, no, no. You can’t just change the rules like that.
Me: Can you taste this little cake I’m eating now. I got it from the store across the street yesterday evening. Tell me what you taste?
Inner Shammah: Sweet. And it is overcoming. The sponge melts into a pulp too early so you can’t taste all the flavours. Something was wrong with the mixture.
Me: My God! You are a natural.
Inner Shammah: I am whatever you want me to be.
Inner Shammah: I understand why you don’t like to eat cakes now.
Inner Shammah: Not a lot of bakers balance out the flavours, texture and the little nitty gritties that create a fun experience. I think, and let me review these records. Yeah, I think your bad experiences with cakes far outweigh your good experiences with cakes. You have had some great cakes.
Me: I have had some great cakes. 13th August 2018 in Cotonou. I still remember the name of the baker.
Inner Shammah: That feels good. Remembering the cake.
Me: It does feel good. I should call them.
Inner Shammah: You should.
Inner Shammah: The baker you ordered your birthday cake from, is she great?
Me: I think her cake is the best I’m going to have this year.
Inner Shammah: Hmmn…
Inner Shammah: We haven’t recorded this level of optimism about cakes in two years. The readings are like a miracle.
Inner Shammah: Inner Shammah stuff. Don’t bother trying to get it.
Me: Okay. I’m going to sleep now. Talk to you tomorrow.
Inner Shammah: Talk to you.
Inner Shammah: Goodnight.
Inner Shammah: Wait…you someday, I’m going to have to move out.
Me: Yeah, I know. You always say that. You remind me every night.
Inner Shammah: I just don’t want you to be lame when I’m gone.
Me: It is okay. I’m stronger now. I think I can handle it.
Inner Shammah: Okay then. I love you, Shammah.
Me: I love you, too.