The Destination Bakery is my destination this particular morning. And I am aware of the flimsiness of this mission. It’s arbitrary, unnecessary…and in my burdensome work-oriented mind, insufficient. What would suffice? The very thing I don’t want, a paying job. Thus, our conditioning. Never mind, for this is not enough to deter me in any significant way. And damned if I am not bouncing out the door and down the hill well before 10 AM in search of…well, what? Well, escape from the pressures, if one can call them that, of writing. And, of course, in search of a certain number of calories. And the latter does add complications, doesn’t it?

Decisions, decisions. There is no bran muffin, is there? This, the woman behind the counter informs, is attributable to the day being a Wednesday, not a Tuesday, bran day. Very well. And it wasn’t really a decision, was it? In fact it was lurking there all along, the attraction to the ham-and-Gruyere croissant. Which is soon heated and crumbling into my mouth. What kind of aging, calorie-conscious person would do this to himself? Well, there you have it.

And what do you have? You have the above, plus a steaming double cappuccino. Which all adds up to the life of the San Francisco flaneur. A member of café society. A neighborhood guy, too. And a reader of Sunday’s New York Times. Turns out the guys who escaped from prison upstate really escaped. In fact, there is no escaping this in the general media unless you’re like me and escape the general media. Note that I am not trying to. And actually, this is rather scary. I could easily breeze through a week glancing at parts of Sunday’s newspaper, a compendium of the UK Guardian and The New Yorker. Which is like picking over canapés at a party. Like it or not, entertained or not, there is such a thing as being factually informed.

On the other hand, I am old. I like the word ‘old.’ The alternative, middle-aged, no longer applies. This is no middle. It may not be the end either, but let’s not screw around. Being old is fine. Well, not really, but it will do, won’t it? What gets old is trying to be young, or younger. The staff at Canyon Market down the street regularly give me a senior discount. It’s really cool being a senior anything, by the way. Senior executive. Senior partner. Stuff like that. Who knows what younger people really think of me? Who remembers what I thought of older people when I was, you know, young?

On the way out of Destination Bakery, I notice three women chatting at a table. Since they are the only other customers in the place, they are hard to miss. Thing is, it’s also hard to say hello. I’m not sure why this is, but it’s a habit. And one, I resolve at the moment, anyway, to break.

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