Set in Chocolate Stone

pan regio guadalajara

We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever. – Carl Sagan

This morning I went back to Pan Regio, the bakery near my house, and since there was no budín and also because I felt inclined to mix it up, I got a piedra, a chocolate biscuit type thing whose name in Spanish means “stone.” It cost five pesos.

I’m not crazy about starting my day with so much sugar. I would rather gnaw on a handful of raw spinach, or fill my cheeks with salted avocado. But I’m trying to keep things cheap, and also I’m a little bit in love with this bakery. The woman made a joke to me today but I didn’t understand , and when I said, “What was that?” she said, “Have a nice day.” In Pan Regio you get one chance to understand jokes. If you don’t get it the first time, you’re toast (or other baked good).

The piedra is aptly named, though I’ve ever seen any chocolate-covered stones in the natural world. It’s not as hard as I would’ve thought, though it is brittle. The piedra of the pastry world, then, might be something like the shale of the geologic world. If climbing legend Alex Honnold was free-soloing a beautiful wall in Yosemite and came upon a patch of piedras, he would probably be disgusted and/or in great danger (and/or sated). But if the only thing you have to do is walk through the streets of Guadalajara and enjoy the mercifully cool morning temperatures, the muted light on the buildings, the smell that for some reason reminds me of Bakersfield, California, a piedra is not a bad companion.

I’m not sure what this day holds for me, and I like that. I woke up this morning and meditated to a 15-minute long video of Alan Watts, the famed British pop philosopher, telling me not to judge the sounds I was hearing, to not control my breathing, to simply observe the thoughts that came into my head the same way I observed the hum of the refrigerator, without judgement. At one point during the meditation my neighbor walked into her courtyard, i.e. directly next to my window, and I wondered if she was watching me. She might’ve been. I wouldn’t have judged.

What would I like this day to hold for me? Well, I was supposed to teach Spanish classes from 10am-12pm, and then an English class from 12:30pm-1:20pm. All of these classes have been cancelled, but I’ll still be paid. To celebrate, I may go to my favorite cafe, El Terrible Juan, and get a green or black tea. I’ll talk to one of the waitresses, who always seems happy to see me, and be earnest yet polite with the other waitress, who seems to regard me the way you might regard an insect that’s just collided with your windshield and is still somehow alive. And then afterward, of course, I’ll get a lonche from Doña Marta.

Today is all about being centered, which should be easy given the contents of my stomach. Yesterday it was a compact object, today it’s a chocolate-covered stone.

I would like to take a small trip with my February Patreon earnings. So far I’m up to $20. Today is the last day to sponsor and have your pledge counted for the month of February. Thanks to all who’ve pledged so far.

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