Saturday, June 6, 2009

Half-baked

"I have a question for you," the young woman in back asks me cheerily, seeking to resolve a minor dispute she's having with her boyfriend, who's sitting beside her.

"Who would you value more as a friend: someone who's good at baking--you know, cookies and cakes--or someone who's just a good person?"

I ponder the question, thinking about how this relationship may depend on my answer and how I would enjoy a lemon square just about now.

"It depends on the circumstances," I say.

"Yeah, see?" the boyfriend nearly shouts, as if they had made a bet on what my answer would be.

"Say you're trapped in a blizzard inside a remote cabin stocked only with baking supplies," I continue. "Or suppose or you need to borrow two-thousand dollars from someone. It really depends."

"Exactly!" the boyfriend says.

"I don't get it," the girlfreind says. "You'd like someone who bakes cookies as much as someone who's a funny, decent person?"

"Well," I say, wondering silently if there's some other reason the girlfriend doesn't like this particular cookie-maker, "I know I have different friends for different activities, and then I have friends I just like to hang around with. Perhaps you could make a place in your life for both."

"That's what I've been sayin'," the boyfriend echoes.

"I suppose," the girlfriend says glumly, clearly not happy with the direction of this conversation.

The boyfriend picks up on this change, too, and decides to change the subject. "You want to go see a movie after dinner?"

"I dunno," she says curtly. "We'll see." They sit in silence the rest of the ride.

This, I tell myself, could be a long night for this guy.

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