I forgot the flour.
In the grand scheme of things, trivial really. In the grand scheme of the lasagna I was making from scratch, it was a significant annoyance relative to the bechamel sauce I needed to whip up.
And relative to today’s dispatch, it’s everything.
The story goes like this…
I ventured out to fetch the aforementioned flour. I could have popped over to the Albert supermarket that’s literally a three-minute walk from my apartment. But it was a sunny afternoon and it was a very pleasant 71 degrees here in Prague. So, I decided to walk to a Tesco supermarket about 20 minutes away in Old Town just because I wanted the fresh air, the exercise, and the time to think about a screenplay I’m working on (I do my best thinking while walking).
And that’s where the problem began—the thinking…
Instead of focusing on the screenplay, my mind got sidetracked by a particular view of the city. Which sent my brain down a whole different path…leading to this phrase: slow living.
That’s a real thing, apparently. It evolved out of the “slow food” movement that was all the rage a few years ago, though honestly I didn’t know that until I Googled it for this missive.
Whatever the case, I started thinking about the fact that my life is so remarkably different than it was three years ago, when I was still living in Long Beach, California.
Had I needed flour for a bechamel, I would’ve had to hop in my Mini Cooper and drive to Ralph’s on Pacific Coast Highway, find a parking place, hike through a supermarket the size of a small Caribbean nation, then wait in line for an amount of time just shy of your typical golf tournament, and then backtrack home, hoping I can find a parking space on the street near my apartment.
Frankly, I probably would have just driven to my friend Christie’s condo in Signal Hill to cook because she has a proper kitchen.
My little rat box of a studio on the beach had something not even equivalent to the galley space allocated to meal prep on a wide-body jet. I rarely cooked there, unless you consider the preparation of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich “cooking.”
But here I am, three years later, ambling my way toward one of the most beautiful Old Towns in all of Europe, getting in my 10,000 steps for the day. Feeling healthier. Happily gawking at the beauty of this place. Not missing even for a millisecond my car or the go-go-go hassles of managing the life I had in the U.S.
I’ve really bonded with this slow living. It’s such a more enriching, fulfilling, and relaxed lifestyle, really.
Walking wherever I want to go…or hopping onto a tram or the subway to go pretty much anywhere in Prague. Languidly shopping the farmers’ market near my apartment. Stopping in parks to write when the mood strikes. Plopping down in a coffee shop or a pub to grab a beverage while I write on my phone. I don’t really pay attention to time anymore. It’s sort of irrelevant unless I have a specific appointment or a meeting I need to attend online.
As I was walking to Tesco to buy flour, I realized I was hungry and I ran through the list of nearby options, settling on Running Sushi, a chain here, whereby plates of sushi and whatnot pass by your table on a miniature conveyor belt and you just grab what you want.
So, I had an early dinner.
Still thinking about this notion of “slow living,” I figured I’d try to fashion from it a column, and, so, I popped into a Starbucks in Old Town Square for an iced tea and to sit on a couch on the third floor, writing part of this dispatch on my phone while looking out over the square that’s more-heavily touristed than it has been in more than a year.
And then I walked the long way to the tram and was home seven minutes later. Which is precisely why…
I forgot the flour.