I lived in Auburn, AL for a time after I graduated from college.
It was sort of a postponement of adulthood or something, one last gasp in an extended wheezing avoidance of really growing up.
I had a real talent for postponement.
It was a fun time.
You know, I don’t really remember any of the jobs I’ve had with any great clarity. They aren’t memories I feed…I don’t look back fondly at many of those moments.
But I remember living in Auburn with my friends.
We shared a big house on Thach Ave. Rent was cheap and the heat was included in the price.
I used to make these mammoth piles of pancakes…put apples and raisins in them…I think I used some bananas sometimes.
Pancakes were cheap…good. It was fun making pancakes for people.
I remember once sitting down to a pile of fresh cakes and my friend Grinnell came upstairs and looked at my plate.
He looked at the pile of flapjacks for a moment, and then said, “You’re eating a cake.”
And he was right…the pile was about 10″ across and 6″ high. It must have been about 6 or 7 big pancakes stacked up and covered with syrup and butter.
I’m making myself hungry writing this.
A big pile of buttery pancakes, steaming in the coolness of an old Alabama house kitchen in the Fall.
I looked at that pile and realized that eating a whole cake at a sitting wasn’t something that was really socially acceptable…but somehow eating this pile of pancakes was an activity I could get away with.
It did put things in a new perspective for me…”eating a cake…”. I felt like more of a pig when I looked at my pancakes in light of that revelation.
I still ate all of them, of course.
I think that I might have made Grinnell a “cake” of his own to eat.
Connotations are funny.
(I couldn’t remember that word until I’d slammed down the plunger on the french press and had a quick cup of coffee…funny how that works, too…I doubt that coffee really has that quick an effect…)
Until I saw the “cake” blatantly hidden in that pig pile of pancakes, it was just another thing that I ate for breakfast. It was a big pile of breakfast food.
And then the “scales fell away from my eyes” and the big picture was revealed.
The fact that it didn’t say something like “HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SONNY!” on it couldn’t hide that I was really eating a cake.
I was eating a whole cake, alone in my kitchen until Grinnell came up the stairs.
I was like one of those binge eaters you see on TV…chowing down on a half-price sheet cake in the closet so that no one sees them.
Except that it was a pile of pancakes that I was eating, so it was socially acceptable. It was OK to be a breakfast glutton.
I didn’t frost my pancakes. They didn’t really make a cake, even though for all practical purposes they were a full-size cake.
I think about perspective quite often. I think about perspective from as many angles as I can imagine.
Now I can add “connotations” to my pondering.
It was a breakfast time paradigm shift, an awakening, a new reality. It opened my eyes and made me see the truth.
It still didn’t stop me from eating the cake.
Could you please pass the syrup?