“What had happened to her thoughts?” Birdie wondered. They were swimming listlessly, round and round, like dying goldfish. No luster. No verve. Birdie had definitely misplaced her verve.
She blamed it on trying to be nice, which was an ill-fitting uniform that Birdie had tried to wear. Birdie had always judged herself as innately kind, and had never worried about being nice. In Birdie’s mind there was a distinct difference. However, with some people, being nice was the only currency that you could spend.
So, Birdie had made an effort to become consciously aware of her interactions with others. Some well meaning persons had pointed out that tact was not Birdie’s strong suit. Maybe they hadn’t actually said those very words, but that’s what they meant. They had said something like, “I wish I had the courage to be as direct as you are.” Then they gave a little laugh. It was definitely a criticism dressed up to look like a compliment. Birdie wasn’t fooled.
So she worked on changing. Instead of interacting instinctively, she had become mindful. No, make that tentative, concerning her words and actions. And she had turned into white bread.
Birdie didn’t want to be white bread. White bread was okay for some things, like when you wanted a Braunschweiger sandwich or a ketchup sandwich, but you shouldn’t even be eating those things. She wanted to be that 21-grain bread she got from Serious Delights Bakery. Or even Russian rye. Even better–that demi-baguette with the sesame and poppy seeds.
Yes, demi-baguette was better all around. Chewy and flavorful. With seeds that became lodged in your teeth, sure, but seeds that served as a reminder of how delicious your encounter with the demi-baguette had been. She definitely wanted to be a demi-baguette. And who ever said a demi-baguette wasn’t nice? Nobody, that’s who. Nobody who was right.
How to get back her demi-baguette? Stop being thoughtful and considerate and all the other ways that seemed the ways one should be when relating to others? Birdie didn’t want to run rough-shod over anyone’s feelings. That wouldn’t be the way. A demi-baguette wouldn’t do that. But, a demi-baguette would be itself. How could it not? It would make you work a little harder for its deliciousness. It’s toothy-ness. It’s nutty goodness. It would be worth it. It wouldn’t be stubborn or recalcitrant, just chewy.
Demi-baguettes didn’t worry that they weren’t more like white bread, or that they weren’t the first choice of people who preferred white bread–people who don’t want the bread to play any real part in their life’s sandwich. People who have become so de-sensitized that they don’t realize that white bread turns into sticky gobs of mucilage when you chew it. People who are still eating like children, whining about having crust on their bread.
Birdie would be a demi-baguette. She would be the bread that was the perfect complement to rare roast beef, cheese, or real butter, with soup or stew or all by itself. The bread that you find yourself thinking about later. Wishing you had some more. And she would be the demi-baguette, not the baguette. The baguette was too much, and it came without seeds. A demi was just enough for one or two people at a time. And the seeds made it perfect for only certain people. Not everybody. Yep. Birdie–the demi-baguette.