Confessions of a Breadboard Addict - The Breadboard
(feel free to bring your own take-out bag)
Things almost got ugly the other day in the Breadboard. The four women at table 2 had decided to each get a different omelet but then to also get a plate of Marionberry Muffin French Toast and to split it… the problem was that it came with 5 pieces and it’s obvious that this wasn’t gonna work. Things were all bright and breezy at first because everybody was still revelling in the new found joy that the Breadboard has finally gone with compostable/biodegadeable to go containers, utensils, and straws and now only gives straws on demand which are the most damaging and deadly thing we can put into the environment but as the omlettes dimished into the final bites the conversation switched to the French Toast and how this was one of the items Guy Fieri was going to feature on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives when he visited Ashland, but he was equally taken by the Mountain Man with the rich country gravy but at the last minute he was apparently more into Indonesian food and who could blame him because authentic Indonesian food is hard to resist and Blue Toba is the real deal but the customers that nominated the Breadboard for Triple D deserve a big hug of appreciation because Breadboard customers are passionate about their place and that’s why they fight over the 5th piece of Marionberry Muffin French Toast. Fortunately, the discussion about the importance of using biodegradable to go containers at the Breadboard seemed to mollify the women at table 2 and one woman had to use the restroom and another had to take a call outside so the other two split the last piece – kind of like a Trump/Kim moment (sort of but not really) – but all was well and because of the to go container adjustment the turtles now stand a better chance and the Pacific garbage patch will grow just a little less and we can all feel good about that.
I was in the Breadboard the other day politely eavesdropping on a conversation between a mom and her pre-teen son and he was a big OSF fan and mentioned that if the Bard were alive today he’d have just had his 364th birthday and as she nibbled on her huge and scrumptious home-made Marionberry muffin that is baked daily at the Breadboard (not at home) she said that Shakespeare actually never existed and there is a very well-documented conspiracy theory supporting this claim. The son was deep in thought, and the Mom maybe thought he was offended… again… and the conversation was over. Then the son asked her why she was so big on using organic pesticide because if it’s purpose is to kill things then what’s up with that. Then he asked her why she is so big on recycling everything but she uses two paper towels when one would suffice or why use paper towels at all? And why were she and Dad building a house when there were lots of older houses available and why did they buy a pure bred dog when lots of ‘em at the animal shelter needed homes and, if Shakespeare never existed how is it that his cannon is so harmonious and then by the same line of reasoning, if a big bang results in chaos why is the universe so orderly and he said he can explain why the sky is blue and why it feels like time is speeding up as you grow older but can she? And as their meal came she gave a defeated sigh and said at least they can both agree there is no such thing as gourmet British food and the son shrugged and nodded and she asked for a second muffin.
I saw the sweetest little old lady in the Breadboard the other day and she was alone and it looked like she had been crying. She was wiping her eyes and sniffling a little bit and I leaned over and asked if she was ok. She said she was fine, she was wiping her eyes because she had just woken up and had hurried to the Breadboard to be there when it opened and she was awaiting her first cup of coffee for the day. She said she appreciated my concern and suggested I join her for breakfast because we could each order something different and split it that way we could each get something sweet and savory and besides she had been wanting to talk to a “younger” person about what the deal is with this country these days. Before I could respond, the coffee arrived and she had shifted over to my booth and said to the server that she’d like the Mountain Man ‘cause she needs some of that yummy real country sausage gravy smotherin’ them fresh biscuits and eggs and cheese mmm…and she said that I’d be having the Marionberry stuffed French toast. Then she said she was really perplexed with the things going on this country and that she was a huge Batman fan but now that she knows that Ben Affleck’s tattoo on his back was real she was really conflicted. She told me that she also followed the philosophy of Kim Kardashian and agreed with her view that why would anyone put a bumper sticker on a Bentley and that Ben was definitely a Bentley and he should have never split with Jennifer Garner and he was a way better Batman than the last pretty boy Superman but not nearly as cool as Black Panther – but of course – who is? And our food came and she decided I should leave the tip and to be sure to be generous because the service at the Breadboard is second to none and two meals and three cups of coffee later she waved goodbye and I never even caught her name.
I was having breakfast at the Breadboard and there are so many great choices I didn’t know what to do and then this couple at the table next to me was having this conversation and the woman was trying to explain something to this man and he said he just wasn’t getting her point because she was talking so fast but she told him he was, as usual, he was just listening too slow. They were sort of having this argument about who was the best James Bond. She was saying that she’d just watched “Dr. No” with Sean Connery 3 times in a row and he was without question the best Bond ever. But he was a Daniel Craig fan. She kept saying that his defense was built mostly around special effects and modern cinematography and improved editing and less about the character himself and then she cited this study from Stanford in 1970 that documented the counterintuitive phenomenon that when facts prove someone wrong, instead of changing their mind, people tend to double down on their false belief. Thankfully, breakfast arrived just in time because they were starting to get pretty fired up. The food is just so good at the Breadboard – good enough to bring peace to the table when the big issues just can’t seem to be resolved. The thing everyone agrees on is that the Mountain Man at the Breadboard is a classic. 35 years and still an Ashland favorite. Never goes out of style. There’s probably a study done by Stanford that explains the peace-making effect of the Breadboard Mountain Man, and the woman next to me has probably read it and I was going to ask her about this but then a guy next to me started talking about the Roger Moore James Bond (talk about counterintuitiveness and false beliefs) and and I started to flip out not yet having had my Mountain Man but thankfully, just in time they delivered my warm Marionberry muffin and all was copacetic.
“Then in 1982 a guy dressed up in a Spiderman costume got on top of a Greyhound bus that was driving through town, and we became real concerned about safety,” said City Councilor Susan Reid. That was a quote from the first issue of Sneak Preview in 1990 regarding the Halloween situation in 1982. Shortly after that two guys who were selling wood stoves decided to cut their losses and start selling sandwiches and Ashland Wood Stoves changed its name to The Breadboard. The “rest of the story” is that Ashland was barricaded on Halloween for a time and Spider-Man sightings stopped but the Breadboard never slowed down. 2,643,231 meals later (est.) and the big question seems to be why it is called the Breadboard? Good question. A good goal for 2018, search for the meaning. Get up early. Eat at the Breadboard every day because it’s been there for 35 years and while you sit there enjoying your delicious omelette or Kristal’s Killer Chicken Sandwich, gaze out the window and who knows, maybe Spider-Man will pass by on top of a bus. A perfect beginning to 2018.
“Maman died today.” It’s supposedly one of the most famous lines in literature. As I sit in the Breadboard savoring a piece of perfectly cooked thick sliced bacon I am intrigued by the conversation next to me. Somehow the discussion has veered from the literary merits of one of the most famous openings of a novel to a heated dispute over the pronunciation of a name. “It’s French – like ‘Al – bear’ – not just ‘Albert’ like the Beatles’ uncle!” And this person is really fired up. “How do you know?” “Because I googled it!” Well, there you go. A paradigm shift. Not because of the AP English teacher that forever changed my life – nope. This person knows literature because of Google. Who needs AP English when you have Google? The dreaded instant authoritative Google expert – the seed of smartphones and the internet. All of a sudden, someone who doesn’t really read literature can pronounce and even lecture on Camus. Or someone who doesn’t even like jazz can spell and pronounce say …. Django Reinhardt. They’ve never even appreciated “Honeysuckle Rose” but they know all about Django’s burned hand and his tumultuous gypsy life and they’ve never worn a beret and can’t play guitar. I mean, OK, really… I don’t really think the decline of western civilization started with googling, but I do think that instant Google experts maybe should be put in solitary confinement on a restricted diet – no Breadboard bacon, or some other form of effective rehabilitation. Honestly though, there’s a balance. For example, I’ve always been bothered by people who think George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” was written by the ad agency for United Airlines. But that was almost pre-internet and a well-known classic long before the United marketing campaigns. In all fairness, I can’t blame Google or the internet. I mean, without the internet only a few people would get to appreciate the United slogan, “If we can’t beat our competition, we’ll beat our customers.” Or what about Emoji’s? Fun. Useful. They can add humor and warmth to an impersonal text. But they are teaching people how to not write… how not to write? . So many issues occupied my mind but my bacon was so good that I settled into a meditation on the grace of simplicity.. But I must have been thinking out loud because the Google addict next to me overheard me and googled “grace of simplicity” and a whole new extended period of philosophical pontification based on Google “facts” was off to a running start and I asked for another delicious cup of better not bitter Goodbean coffee and smiled to myself and settled in for the ride. Life is lyrical – love you maman.
I was at the Breadboard the other day enjoying an early fall breakfast with other adults who were leisurely enjoying their weekday brunch because now the kids are safely supervised in various institutions throughout our nice little hamlet. And I was thinking about an email I received recently that said “record floods in Houston, biggest hurricane ever in the Atlantic, largest forest fires in the history of Oregon, and then the headline the other morning read, ‘Earthquake of the Century Rocks Mexico.’ Seriously, is the world falling apart?” Wow. Grim… I didn’t really know how to respond, so I decided the best thing to do was press “delete” and head to the Breadboard and indulge in delicious food and immerse myself in the Sneak Preview (which has frequently been referred to as a “stabilizing influence”). Now, I thought, well, there is something to ponder… because when it comes right down to it, a little local political insight and opinion, a variety of interesting articles, pictures, an in-depth profile of an interesting local figure, along with delicious better not bitter Goodbean Coffee, awesome food, great service and good company and – well, what else do you need? I immediately began to feel more stable and hopeful. Some of the problems are definitely still there but for a little while everything was right in the world and I had a refill and pondered the possibility of supporting myself as a YouTube personality – a “cat whisperer” or something like that… But that’s another story… meow…
I had a dream last night. I think it was anxiety induced. I think dreams are interesting but I generally don’t like to over-analyze them. Like if my dreams were movies, they’d be more amusing and chaotic than substantive and loaded with deeper meaning. For some reason, I was supposed to come up with a haiku but I had to write it on a billboard shaped like the opera house in Sydney but they made me use one of those brushes that the image disappears after the liquid dries. I had not had any dinner that night and I was really hungry and I kept dreaming that I was at the Breadboard and the server was super friendly and she kept walking past my table with huge plates of food and she’d smile and giggle and show me the plates of food as she walked by – waffles laden with whipped cream and strawberries and biscuits and thick country gravy and frittatas and omelettes and everything looked so good and I kept painting furiously …
Eggs oh so yummy
Tummy tummy tummy eat
Waffle gobble thrive
And I kept painting and painting but the billboard was on the side of a bus so I had to run alongside the bus as I was painting and the bus kept going faster and faster. I don’t know what this was all about. This is why I tend not to over analyze my dreams. But one thing was clear when I woke up – I headed straight to the Breadboard and I was there when they unlocked the door at 7.
The other day I was chowing down on a delicious Greek omelette at the Breadboard totally immersed in a kind of meditative nirvana and it reminded me of an ancient Taoist fable about this guy named Chuang Chou who dreamed he was a butterfly happily flitting about and the dream was so real that when he woke up he wasn’t sure if he was Chuang Chou or he was actually a butterfly dreaming he was Chuang Chou and while contemplating the transformation of things it made me think of the confusion I was experiencing because I couldn’t distinguish between the deep sense of joy I was feeling savoring the memory of the first half of my meal which I’d just eaten or the excitement I was feeling with the giddy anticipation of eating the second half and I just kept eating and eating and eating and then the little girl at the table next to me blurted out “Mommy, that person eats like a horse” and she reminded me of the old story about the woman that bought a horse without her husband’s knowledge and she was trying to find a place to board the horse and the first guy arrogantly snapped that he’d charge $80 a month and the vet bills would be extra and he’d get to keep the manure and that seemed unacceptable and she was slightly offended so she went to a second barn and the guy said he would charge $70 plus vet bills and he gets the manure but that wasn’t much better so she went way out in the country and the third guy was really laid back and said he’d charge $30 a month with no vet bills and she asked what about the manure and he said that at $30 a month there wouldn’t be any manure and as I was eating and eating and eating and experiencing this deep sense of satisfaction my mind just kept blissfully wandering and wandering and wandering and I never ever ever ever wanted my meal to end.
I’ve been contemplating part of a conversation I overheard the other day while enjoying a delicious meal at the Breadboard. A younger nicely dressed and dignified woman was talking to these two businessman-looking guys and I kind of started eavesdropping in the middle of some story where she said “Once I was blading out a corral of replacement heifers – ” And then I was interrupted by a cheerful server who wanted to know if I was ready to order and I missed the point of the woman’s story because my attention was diverted back to my original dilemma of trying to decide between a sweet or a savory special because that’s something I love about the Breadboard – they change their specials daily and they always have something sweet like a yummy stuffed French toast or a crepe AND they always have something savory like a veggie frittata or a creative scramble so I’m always satisfied no matter what my mood is each day – and I can be moody – but anyway, I digress – about those replacement heifers – it’s not something I hear mentioned in Ashland often – well, never actually, and it sort of sounds a little dark and I don’t know what she was talking about but when I re-entered my eavesdropping mode she was saying that she had realized that if she did her own yard work for one hour a week she could save herself $30 a week and she can totally stuff herself for $15 at the Breadboard so she decided to eat at the Breadboard at least once a week and do her own yardwork and she felt like she was actually making $15 a week. The business guys were intrigued by her conversation and seemed a little confused and one of the guys was scribbling something on a yellow pad and then he mentioned if she went to the Breadboard twice a week it was a break even proposition and I jumped in and mentioned that that was a great idea because then could have something sweet one day and something savory the next but I realized they weren’t too cool with me being part of the conversation and she mumbled something about “blading out” and it was a little awkward but the frittata that day was amazing and then the server crashed in and started talking about the soup of the day and who needs more coffee etc. and everything was fine.