Reflections on a Lost Practice in an Ever-Changing World
I walked to the market and picked up a fresh loaf of bread.
I know I can make my own bread at home, as I’ve done countless times before.
I could always drive to the store and buy bread. It’s not like bread is the most expensive commodity. A couple of bucks at the big box grocers will get you a bag of ciabatta or a pack of sliced bread. It would be faster to drive too.
So why do I insist on walking and bearing the brunt of a Canadian winter? Is fresh bread worth the risk of frostbite?
Perhaps it’s all unnecessary. Still, there’s something ritualistic about it. About walking to the local family-owned market to pick up some bread. Walking feels better for your soul. Then there’s the market itself. The familiar, smiling faces of the workers greeting you as you walk in. As if to say, we value your business and ongoing commitment to shopping here.
There’s also the other regulars. You get to know them after a while. All the small talk as you wait in line with them at the bakery counter adds up. It’s all more personal and enjoyable than it is to go to the regular grocers. There, everyone is fighting for a parking space or with a sales associate after an item scanned the wrong price. Those issues don’t exist at the market. It’s a more inviting, home-like atmosphere here. Not to mention the bread tastes better too.
The ritual of buying bread is a lost practice that I’m inclined to maintain. Like reading print newspapers and solving crossword puzzles at breakfast. I try to buy bread at the market as often as I can. I know it’s an extra effort to do so and it comes with no real bragging rights. Well, other than saying, “I walked to the market and picked up a fresh loaf of bread”. Not like anyone cares about your bread buying ventures, anyways. It’s such an insignificant thing that rarely comes up in conversation. Or is it more than that? More than insignificant, I mean.
An act of defiance. A peaceful protest against an ever-changing world. You can take away and replace xyz, but you can’t take this. I’m getting older. Is this how becoming out of touch with the younger generations starts? Holding on to things from a simpler time?
It’s all so silly and impractical. I’m well aware of that. Most people wouldn’t put this much thought into buying bread. As I’m walking home with the brown paper bread bag secured in my arms, I can’t help but think, maybe that’s not such a bad thing.
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