Ingredients and a Pen: Bagels in Holywood
(Picture from seededatthetable.com)
The rough edges of the panorama are right outside the window. Of the Metro bus. Any touristy introduction would skip this stretch of downtown LA. To some it maybe scary; to some it may altogether mean a stench of a restroom-deprived mob. To some it may simply be a sob story of people without homes, living off scraps from men – both those with heart and those with disgust eager to dismiss any vagabond as indolent. But to me who was semi-starving from a cheek of a bagel after an early morning Mass (and Masses are meant to engage the soul and senses to dare us to become saints), I could only wish I had stashed away packs of bagel from the all-smiles doughnut ministry and this crowd would live happily ever after.
Not quite. This is a wound I could only nurse for a little while with my limited supply of bagels. And their story continues. And mine too. But at least my bagels shall have fulfilled their mission of feeding the bellies (or shall I say those little crawling creatures inside the belly) that need them the most.
So much with bagels. I have lived in this city for more than four years to know for sure that this place is a race for bagels for the most part. And there I go again with my bagels. I could only imagine telling someone in a nonchalant manner that the dreamer, with all her life packed (and locked if you will, until Customs broke it open), unloaded that suitcase and endured a handful of years at the foot of Hollywood Hills .….for bagels. The Hollywood dormer and her dormer friends after all, did not crave for but ended up with bagels.
Bagels are plain (at least those church bagels); bagels are less tasty than the sugary doughnuts. Bagels are just the basics. Just to get me by for the morning before I pounce on an indulgent lunch. But basic is powerful. And this basic piece of carb brings home the point – that after all the cars, flashy or non-flashy, zoom in before any driver as a plain postmarked envelope carrying the monthly bill, after all the theme park pictures graduate as a necessary pleasure before the toilsome and seemingly eternal search for stability outside of the park, what’s left is the soul haunting the mind with that nagging question , “Have I ever grown?”
So in the end, bagels are healthy. And in no way does it mean I settle. I want this edible ring with butter. The butter of that authentic joy in becoming better. And my being better may well begin in a rather uncomfortable spot behind the window, with rolling frames of men and women clutching their soiled sleeping bags, waiting for that round little piece of carb that I hold in my hand… and in my heart.
Jojo Beloy for the Fat Kid Inside