I am sitting here watching I Love Lucy, drinking champagne and cleaning chocolate off of my chin. After reading my little manifesto my mom insisted that I didn’t need to own my own house, or even a brick and mortar to have my own bakery. She told me to march my caboose to the grocery store and buy ingredients for something to bake. I told her I didn’t have money for that. She argued with me that I did, because I had told her I made $52 delivering pizza.
I’d confided in my mom that I’d had some hefty tippers the other day. Before I left to deliver to one guy, my boss had said, “now listen, if Davis doesn’t tip you at least $10, you let me know.”
I nodded, but immediately began to fret. So this Davis was a good tipper? What if I was the one pizza delivery gal he didn’t tip well, because I did something stupid like coughed near his pizza or something?
Then my other boss said, “And know that he will hit on you.”
Now I was exceptionally nervous. What if Davis didn’t hit on me? What if he thought I was a troll and therefore tipped me $3? I scooped up my pizza bag and receipt with address and went to deliver to Davis, desperate for him to tip me $10 and hit on me. When I arrived and held up my bag and announced the total, Davis—a young bearded gentleman—smiled and ambled over. I immediately began to fumble with sliding the pizza out of the bag. I struggled and couldn’t get it out, until he jokingly said, “Come on now, you can do it.”
I could feel my face starting to flame and said, “Give a girl a break.”
I can’t be certain this is what he said next as my pure horror over not being able to sufficiently pull a pizza order out of a bag was making me dizzy. “I can’t do that, because that’d mean I was dumping you.”
I looked up as I pulled the pizza out and slid it to him, waiting for the cash. His total was $25.46. He handed me $40 and told me to keep the change. I still hadn’t registered anything: the large tip, the smiling, his easygoing banter. As I had been worried the whole time about appearing idiotic while I was indeed appearing idiotic.
At any rate, I got back, to my boss asking if I had gotten the $10 tip as promised. I nodded, re glowing red again. “You got more than $10 didn’t you,” he said, already knowing the answer. I smiled, believing myself to be a non-troll after all. The night progressed somewhat along those lines and I was pleased.
So yes. I did have $52 in tips but I had earmarked that for fancy groceries like quinoa and avocados.
But as I got to thinking about it, I supposed my mom was right. Maybe I should just take a chance and bake and attempt to sell my baked goods? What was the harm in trying? I fancied myself decently competent at it and it was in the vicinity of my goals. I could have a pop-up bake shop. The more I thought about it, the more it thrilled me while at the same time terrified me if it meant I couldn’t have my quinoa and avocados.
As I was driving to the grocery store (45 minutes away) I decided I was in. I was going to do it. I decided this week would be cupcakes. I would make my mama’s famous chocolate buttercream fudge cake and turn it into cupcakes, which I’d done numerous times before. At the grocery store, I piled the ingredients in my cart, doing a mental tally of the expense. With each item of cupcake important in, I had to mentally scratch off a fancy food item. The quinoa was out. So was squash. And asparagus. And tuna—not fancy but still—until I had everything I needed for cupcakes and little I needed in the way of actual groceries.
I went and grabbed bread and did opt for the fancy nine grain though it was $4 more than the sugary white crap. I went to the produce section and was eyeing up the avocados. Sadly I walked away.
I went home and began baking feeling appropriately charmed and hopeful. My mom called while I was baking and we began to talk about the houses in town that I would be interested in owning one day. I told her about one that used to be a hotel and what I could glean was inside from squinting outside the gate: some really nice antiques, a wrought-iron bed post and some old furniture with real potential to be refurbished.
My mom squealed in delight and told me I should see about buying some of it. “Mom, I had to cut a $.99 avocado off my grocery list, what about my financial state right now leads you to believe I could go all antiques roadshow on the abandoned hotel in town?”
She laughed heartily and said, “but still…” My mom is as much the dreamer as I am. “I didn’t realize you wouldn’t have been able to buy avocados if you bought baking supplies… I didn’t want that…” she confessed apologetically.
“It’s alright. I work this weekend, so I can buy avocados then.”
At this point the buzzer went off for the cupcakes and chocolatey goodness was wafting into my nostrils. I opened the oven door and saw utter catastrophe.
“Oh no, mom!” I exclaimed, setting the phone down on the counter, “I overfilled the cupcake wrappers and they overflowed. They look awful!”
She insisted it was alright and that they could be my practice batch. Until I realized I forgot two key ingredients for the buttercream frosting and had to switch over to just fudge frosting. Then I overfilled the next batch too, though I tried heartily not to. As I looked at the oozing chocolate cupcake mess, I began to wonder if indeed I had made the wrong decision in not buying quinoa and avocados and instead thinking I could have a baking empire. I told my mom as much as I wedged the exploded cupcakes out of the pan.
“Mom, this is the universe laughing at me for spending my grocery money on cupcakes and thinking I could be a baker. They look terrible! Though, honest to God they are delicious… but they look like shit…”
My mom immediately nixed that train of thought, and said it wasn’t the universe, it was me overfilling the cupcake wrappers and that this was merely the test batch. I decided to agree with her as I wolfed down three mangled cupcakes and got frosting all over my face like a cupcake savage.
Well, I suppose any artistic foray, whether it be writing or baking is bound to have some blunders. At least I still have half the batter left to make new—hopefully more promising —attempts. Would anyone like a mangled cupcake though in the meantime?