The Way The Cookie Crumbles

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The edges were crispy, no . . . hard.
Cookies can be like that, and sometimes deservedly so. Like a Ginger Snap; a Ginger Snap has to be hard. A Ginger Snap just has to be hard, or there is no snap.
          But this was Chocolate Chip, a big cookie, an expensive cookie, and a hard cookie. And I didn’t really need a cookie, but it called out to me. It was a good-looking cookie, one of a few stacked up like pancakes behind the display case glass.
          Standing in line at Starbucks, waiting, I decided I needed a cookie. I hadn’t had breakfast, woke late, and I had to be at the office for a conference call at 8:30, and in that rush hour traffic, I decided I really needed coffee. Really.
          So there I was, at 8:12, six minutes from the office, almost ready to order coffee,
          when I decided the cookie would be some sort of breakfast,
          something to stop the stomach from rumbling,
          as I knew it would be rumbling (it always did)
          when I only had coffee for breakfast.
I was sure I could afford the cookie. I’d left my wallet on the kitchen counter, but managed to scrounge a little over five, or just about six, bucks in silver from my pockets and the car’s ash tray (hopefully there’d be a few quarters left for the parking meter).
          I really needed coffee, and I really need that cookie.
          I didn’t discover the hardness of the cookie immediately, not until partway through the conference call. My stomach rumbled. I wasn’t saying much, I was really only listening to the call, so I reached into the small, crisp Starbucks bag to break off a corner of the cookie, just a quick bite.
          It didn’t break.
          The cookie certainly didn’t even bend, not even with the pressure I felt would be required to break the corner off a big Chocolate Chip cookie. It was hard, and hard didn’t necessarily mean brittle. There was no snap.
          So I put off my cookie break until after the call, and then I tried again.
          It took two hands to break the cookie.
          Two hands!
          One cookie.
It was a hard cookie, a deceiving cookie. It didn’t look, at all, like it would be hard, not
when it was displayed in the case. Then, it looked good. It looked soft and sweet and
delicious, as a cookie should be; especially an expensive cookie.
          Its edges were stiff, almost calcified. It more than crunched as I bit into it. Its looks were not all that was deceiving; its taste (and I use that word loosely) was disguised by the crunch, what taste there was. I did not taste like Chocolate. It tasted more of freezer, and crunch, and, and burnt (I knew all about burnt cookies). I didn’t see that, and I didn’t anticipate that. There was the taste of burnt, like it was baked on a cookie sheet that had previously burned a batch of cookies.
          And it had looked so good.
          If this was buyer beware, hell, I didn’t feel I’d been warned. And if that’s the way the cookie crumbles, well, it didn’t.
          It lied to me.
          The cookie was a lie. Not just metaphorically.
          Lies always leave a bad taste in your mouth.
Still I ate it. I wondered why. The militant consumer in me wanted to slip it back into the branded envelope and return to Starbucks. Yes, I could use another cup of coffee, but more so, I wanted another cookie: a replacement cookie. Money was dear, but this wasn’t even about the money, it was more about the principle.
          If you are going to charge $2.00 for a cookie, it should taste like a $2.00 cookie.
          It looked like a $2.00 cookie, as far as cookies go.
          It looked like an expensive cookie, a good cookie.
It wasn’t, not at all.
          In hindsight had I the time and had it not been a spontaneous purchase I would have stepped next door. Subway had a deal, a dozen cookies for $5. A good deal, if you wanted a dozen cookies.
          But I didn’t want, nor did I need, a dozen cookies. I only wanted one cookie (and really, I didn’t need that, not as far as the calorie count goes).
          Even then, if I wanted a dozen cookies, and had planned on purchasing a dozen cookies, and had made time for said purchase, I would have driven a few blocks over to that bakery.
          Now those were cookies.
          I used to go there a lot, or frequently. That place had great cookies, and not just chocolate chip.
          Who had the time?
          I didn’t have the time, not this morning, to make the trip to that bakery, and I certainly didn’t have the time to drive back to Starbucks.
          I couldn’t even make time (could you ever?), and now and not because of the back-to-back appointments scheduled throughout the morning and the intermittent interruption of the calls that would surely come I was in a shitty mood.
          All because of a cookie,
          all because that cookie did not appear to be what it was.
          I should have known. Things are rarely as they appear.
          I should have known that.

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