Piercing pitta bread.
Once upon a time, Mia went off to Raval and drank her ass off. She was there with Sara. As usual, her tipple of choice was vodka and coke.
They shared a side of nachos with ubiquitous guacamole and while munching it all off, Mia’s convoluted, asynchronous neurons decided she wanted to get yet another hole perforated into her desecrated, persecuted and self-abused body. This time on her left ear, top left ear piercing, so-called helix by the connoisseurs.
And so merrily drunk and with their stomachs, kidneys and livers full of Swedish, citrus-infused, distilled liqueur, off they went to Raval.
The very first tattoo parlor they crossed, they decided to enter. And so she went in. And so Sara followed. Mia asked – how much. The bearded guy behind the counter replied – what for. Giggle. A left ear helix piercing, Mia almost commanded, as convincingly as the absolutely and resolutely Swedish-infused, zesty inebriation would allow.
And so he pierced and pierced away like there was no tomorrow. She hadn’t even noticed the needle hadn’t been safely pulled off a sterilized pack. And so he pierced away and the piercing went through her left ear, helix-style.
Mia could not sleep that night. She kept tumbling around in bed like the maniac insomniac that she had always claimed to be, helix present or in absentia.
In the midst of the madness of such a moonless night, Mia had an ominous dream. When she woke up a vague echo remained, that of a raspy voice commanding Mia to sign up for a vegetarian-cooking workshop.
So on a Friday evening, after yet another night tipple and having successfully concluded her research, she was magically directed to the online till, and finally purchased her premonitory cooking experience. Minutes later, a fancy voucher got promptly delivered into her largely jumbled up virtual inbox.
The luminous and pastel-colored spot hosting the event was called La Vevente, and it was a hipster bottleneck of creative sparkle. The teacher was early-thirties, natural blonde with fake curly hair. She was a reputed vegetarian cook, the owner confidently shared with the small crowd.
After going through such an impressive résumé, the teacher proceeded to share the teaching scriptures of the day with her eager veggie cooking débutants. The set menu du jour included perfidious pitta bread as a humbling accompaniment.
Mia had signed up to the workshop in the hope that she’d make new friends. That’s what she daydreamed about while reaching out for her debit card.
Cooking workshops can only be of interest to middle-class thirty-something people wanting to mingle through the unrest of aloneness.
Alas! She was so mistaken. The workshop was solely attended by semi-incestuous siblings and local BFFs.
Take a sip of wine and off you go, Mia. This won’t last forever. You are supposed to enjoy yourself.
The teacher started describing the ingredients that had been carefully laid out on to the kitchen table just a few hours before the event. It was all very nice food, one would agree, expensive too. Wrapped up in thick plastic, displaying the beauty of exotic non-meaty meats, such as tempeh, to all those uninitiated veggie aficionados.
T-e-m-what? Peh. Peh Paw. That is so weird!Where do you buy that? Giggle. Giggle. Giggle.
Meanwhile, Mia’s piercing stare kept scrutinizing the tabletop for incumbent observers. And she detected the culprit. The offender was proud and worriless, shining off its incongruous green plastic beauty in front of her very eyes, just centimeters away. Vegetable Bouillon stock inside a relatively round and fancy container, for all of you faithful Vevente lovers ready to cook a nice creamy soup. In a veggie cooking masterclass.
Calm down Mia, you calm down. Breathe. Do whatever they teach you in that yoga class of yours. It’s all for the sake of relaxation, isn’t it? You shouldn’t really be working out a sweat right now.
Nice, calm and relaxing. Entirely soothing.
The dare…the dare…The horror!
Mia sipped some more wine and an image got stuck in her mind, a picture that would torture her in routine nightmares in the days to come, from here to eternity.
Did I really pay fifty euros for such a pastiche atelier?
And so the cooking extravaganza got kicked off, and would last slightly over an hour (what with all the supermarket vegetable stock all nicely prepped). For Mia, it felt like endless days.
They started spreading the white powder on to the small tabletop reserved for their cooking utensils. Evenly, non-evenly, making funky shapes. Mia wanted to follow her inner guts and imprint the map of her mind into this proto-pitta centerpiece. Yet she was admittedly not too gifted with crafts and just observed while others started to work through the dough.
Maybe another day, Mia. Floury mandala for the heavens.
The class proceeded to bake the humble, wholemeal flour pitta breads. The complex operation required them getting into groups, two, three people at most. Mia got paired up with one of the incestuous couples. The pittas started taking shape. Maybe not surprisingly, since Mia had been relieved from baking duties for the entire evening.
A throbbing pain suddenly pierced through her left temple and down to the top of her left ear. Sip of wine. Gulp down. Breathe.
How long to go. I need to go to the bathroom. Too much semi-sec.
Mia reached for her phone to check the time. With a bit of luck she would still make it to the wok parlor before their closing time. She was hungry. Pastiche pitta bread and bouillon broth would not appease her appetite.
I’ll go to the bathroom. Convenient ladies break. Powder thy nose and plan for a speedy escape.
But then in no time the tasting got started. And all of a sudden, someone coughed and spat out a tiny lump of chewed up bread. The crowd stared blankly. A sparkling metal stud was cheekily smiling at them.
W T F? The helix pitta bakers shouted in unison.
Weird, isn’t it? Mia whispered.
She pretended she had neither seen nor heard anything. She finished off her glass of wine and proceeded to the door, leaving la Vevente without ever looking back.