I was walking through the streets of central London, despair seeping from the hole in my brogue. I’d just come from an interview which went pretty well, but I knew that I wouldn’t get the job. It is a truth acknowledged within my circle of friends that I have a penchant for self-deprecation, but I was not dabbling in that habit on this occasion. This interview had followed a string of failures, and I was quite at my wit’s end. I normally turn to cake during such times, and the combination of this desire for baked goods with my woes set me on a path of rumination.
I didn’t want to go home, lest I be accosted with questions of whether I had been doing enough to secure employment and be a real person. In fact, I didn’t want to go anywhere, for questions like that lurk in the crevices of small talk, and I felt that if my future or validity as a person was called upon through the simple words ‘so what do you do?’ then I would positively weep. Waiting at the lights of Hyde Park Corner, I was confronted with the possibility that I may never get a real job. If a real existence is a cake, then I didn’t have any self-raising flour, the ingredient considered instrumental in providing structure and reality to a light spongy existence. This makes it seem like I had an existential breakdown at those traffic lights, and I did to an extent, but I was alleviated by another thought – a sprinkling of baking powder (how long can I keep this cake metaphor going?). I may not have had any self-raising flour, but I did have polenta and ground almonds.
They may not be ingredients that are recognised as being able to form a real existence, but I thought that I should work with what I had. The outcome may not be as conventional or as risen, but the process would be exciting and could present various possibilities. And what of the Earl Grey? When walking through these streets on previous occasions I often thought about how pleasant it would be to stop off at a café and order a celebratory Earl Grey tea, whilst habiting in a real existence. It’s true that there’s nothing stopping me from ordering an Earl Grey tea now, but I feel that the bergamot will taste so much sweeter when I know I’ve achieved something.