Drinks & parties

I often turn to Bakerman, my BFF, to ping pong my thoughts as a guide to meet my life obligations. Oftentimes I question myself if that is the correct way to behave in society. Yet there is no user manual to life, and even if there is one, I never even got anything near to a sneak preview of it. So I rely on the viral buzz of what I hear around me, the feedback I get from loved ones and friends in order to wing it through this thing called life.

“That weird customer has immediately paid my invoice after my message,” I tell Bakerman feeling happy with myself. “What does that mean?”

“Blackmail?” Bakerman raises an alarming eyebrow at me as he moves restlessly around my kitchen that evening.

“Haha. Not funny,” I smirk back. “Feel sorry for my mother. She’s a poor little old lady.”

“Did you put a spell on her?” Bakerman keeps eyeing me suspicious of every little reaction or telltale sign my body language might give off.

“No I swear I didn’t,” I answer a little too serious for that type of question.

“What makes her a little old lady?” Bakerman wants to know, his eyes moving up in obvious rememberance of her. “Have you mentioned to your brother to pull his weight for change?”

“We don’t see each other or talk to each other, so no,” I tell him firmly. “She is 67, anorexic thin, no money to spend, sour, by herself, not looking happy or healthy. That makes her a poor little old lady.”

“Did you spend her pension?” Bakerman won’t give up teasing me. “Send her a fruit basket with a note. Carpe diem.”

“I wish,” I sigh into my tea cup. “Haha pretty good, will do. She spends all her money on fatty.”

“Oh well. If she must then she must,” Bakerman states flatly. “Send Fatty a box of seeds to plant. With a note, work never killed anyone.”

“If she must what?” I look up at him surprised.

“Spend her money on Fatty,” Bakerman repeats.

“Haha will do that too,” I smile heartily. “Ok I’m jealous. He always gets spoiled, the brat.”

“Do you think he will understand the concept of what you sow you reap?” Bakerman questions me. He obviously has a plan but I fail to see the big picture just yet.

“He got beaten the hardest so I guess he deserves it now,” I remember those bad old days vividly. The thought alone makes me uneasy and I reach into the cupboard for a piece of chocolate to nibble on. “She will understand.”

“Ok send peppers and beans,” Bakerman nods decidedly.

“Peppers and beans?” I can’t believe what I am hearing.

“Yes,” Bakerman sips his tea undisturbed by the strangeness of this conversation.

“Jack and the bean stalk?” I ask him.

“Yes,” Bakerman continues sipping his tea.

“Peppa Pig?” I ask again to be really sure I got this right.

“Yes,” Bakerman puts his cup down and holds my gaze.

I burst out into a fit of hysteric laughter which lasts a good five minutes.

“Very good,” Bakerman encourages my uplift in spirit.

“Fun!” I finally manage to breathe between giggles.

“Bought a mixing machine today,” Bakerman changes the subject back to his entrepreneurial ideas. “Water is being turned on tomorrow in the kitchen. Things are moving again. Hope to start production soon.”

“This is exciting,” I say and I notice I am tapping my foot without thinking about it. “Do you have a tea room to receive guests?”

“Yes,” Bakerman nods proudly. “I will make samples for photos on Friday and test the oven.”

“Oh fun, just you or will you have help?” I urge him to tell me more about his plans.

“No. I will supply four tearooms to see if their clients will buy the product,” Bakerman lays out the basic steps of his business plan. “Just me for now.”

“Even better, no hassle to clean up,” I point out the positives as they would be for myself. “Pity though, you’re really good talking to people.”

“That’s for later,” Bakerman winks at me.

“Yes,” I smile relieved to hear that idea is still on the table. “I’m happy for you that things are looking up.”

“Have you eaten and bathed the kids yet?” Bakerman beyond my shoulder into the living room at my young brood.

“Have eaten,” I nod looking fondly over my shoulder at my little darlings.

“Did you blackmail your client for a higher price?” Bakerman almost catches me unawares on that issue again.

“Made saumon today. Delicious,” I answer to the question of what I made for my littles earlier on. “No I didn’t.”

“Why not?” Bakerman is always teasing.

“I just told him what I told you yesterday,” I am annoyed he would question my integrity. “Because that’s not right.”

Marshmallow,” Bakerman throws at me with a wink and a grin.

“Yup,” I shrug my shoulders as I finish off my cup of tea.

“You will make a wonderful wife,” Bakerman looks at me all stary eyed now.

“I will,” I nod affirmatively. “This year in autumn.”

“Have you started planning yet?” Bakerman prods the plans further.

“No. Well the solicitor,” I look at his astonished as it hadn’t really occurred to me to actually start moving on this at all. “Nothing to plan really. Get a nice dress. Set the date. Go out for a meal. Married. Very simple.”

“No party for me to come too?” Bakerman’s grin is growing wider and his twinkles are apparent.

“Not really,” I say downplaying the aim of his tease. “Maybe a small drink.”

“Do you think Wim will freak out if I kiss the bride?” Bakerman does his best to keep a straight face now.

“Yes. Absolutely yes!” I cry out with a laugh. “That’s grounds for divorce.”

Bakerman lets out a deep laugh and finishes his tea. I much enjoy my daily chats with him. In fact, I believe that everyone has some really good stories inside of them. Every single person. Yes, you too!

Not all of your stories will get written, although they would be a great read indeed. Some of you may have the intention to write your passionate message to the world, but you keep putting it off and then putting it off some more and… Others will find an excuse in writer’s block. And just a simple lack of confidence will stop the other 99% of people reading these lines. Or lack of time. That one is my favourite excuse. And it just makes me sad. Life is an adventure. Like Paolo Coelho famously said : “Live your personal legend.” That’s right, you are legendary.

The best way I have found to learn something is by listening to stories people tell me. Bakerman is full of stories and funnies and anecdotes which get me thinking.

And it’s not just me. Everybody wants to hear your stories. My storyline. Bakerman’s words of wisdom. So be inspiring to those around you. Let your story be heard. If not in writing, in any other way you choose to express yourself. Just do it.

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A place to meet the Bakerman in the evening

Last night the Bakerman turned up on my doorstep shortly after I had put all three of my kids to bed. After months of small talk during our pre-breakfast meetings on my doorstep, we have now started evening tea time in my kitchen.

I am dying to share with you my experience from the evening.

“Fiona I need a product name for a baguette that is made from an éclair,” the Bakerman starts out. “I am looking for a French word. Something easy to pronounce.”

“A chocolate baguette?” I ask in amazement, as both don’t seem to fit. To me a baguette holds something savoury, like cheese or meat with some vegetables. Chocolate is for pastries. Also a baguette should be crunchy, not soft like an éclair. When I eat my baguette at lunchtime, I want to have the feeling that my teeth are getting a workout, not that they’ll drop out soon because I’ve only ever eaten mushy bread.

“Do you have a picture?” I ask him as I am having a hard time getting my head around the whole paradox of a baguette that is soft like an éclair.

“What?” the Bakerman looks at me half surprised and half in despair. He then reaches over to his bag, pulls out a paper bag and shows me a huge baguette, richly laid with luscious pieces of pink salmon and lettuce leaves. “This a salmon one. I have many variants. Looking for chicken and mayo for example. A simple name that people can call it. Like baguette. But something else.”

“Un pain?” I start thingking out loud still totally bemused. “I don’t see the eclair part,” I add eyeing the baguette with certain suspicion. I can smell the sweet fresh bread and the salmon with a hint of sour cream. I start feeling hungry although I have only just eaten.

“Perhaps you need glasses,” the Bakerman retorts. I can discern a hint of irritation, but also amusement and a little bit of teasing in his voice. “What is a popular word kids are using in French? Words like cool, awesome and so on?”

“’Une flute’ for a baguette,” I go on realizing that ‘une flute’ is also used for a certain body part. The thought makes me blush and I try to stay focused on the issue at hand. “Cool in French would be ‘grave’, ‘terrible’…”

I pause a moment and chuckle. There is in fact an expression I have heard the youngsters use at the office: “Leur baguette est à se taper le cul par terre. I heard that from my french colleague at BNP.” I go on laughing quietly to myself for a while, so I take the opportunity to share the joke: “That translates into: that baguette makes me want to smack my bottom on the floor.”

I can feel a new tradition of evening tea setting on. If you can’t make it, no worries! I’ll blog about my experiences afterwards.

* Disclaimer : Any resemblance between the fictional characters in this story and any persons, living or dead, is a miracle by chance more than by choice.