Whenever possible, I immerse myself in the hardcore realities of going into business for myself: the bank accounts, employment rules, state paperwork, health codes, tax laws and price lists. It’s a daunting kick in the teeth every time I do it. How does anyone ever get it all straight? And more important: why would anyone do this? Go into a line of work with a first-year failure rate between 60% and 75% and try and keep up with the nuts and bolts of it all?
When I find I am too far into the reality hole, I climb out and let the dream return. I allow the sight, sound and smell of my next life to become real. I envision the customer space: clean, spare, with dark wood tables, black, high-backed chairs. Two sofas with a low table between them. Spots and dashes of color: cadmium red, cobalt blue and copper are my favorites. Flatware is simple and stainless; plates, bowls and cups are unadorned white. Some local artists’ work on the walls, but very little. I like minimalist space. There is nothing homey, country or kitschy about my place.
My kitchen: also minimalist. Stainless and concrete, mostly. Well-worn utensils, many bought used. Always busy: pastry being rolled out, cookies baking, soup simmering, fruits and vegetables being sliced, squeezed and pureed; the sound of a bread knife through a loaf of fresh crusty bread. And threading through it all, the soundtrack: the voices of customers and employees, working with and for each other, enjoying each other, listening to each other.
There’s more, of course: the full schedule of catering, the nights with local musicians, poets and authors presenting their work, the women who come in by appointment to perform Chinese and Japanese tea ceremonies. But that’s enough for now. Back to regular, ordinary and reality…for now.