Roll Me In Rainbows And Call Me A Unicorn

When I was living in California, I used to go to a small café called Bagels & Brew a couple of times a week. It is still there. In fact, the owners have opened a couple of more stores in recent years. They have delectable bagels, made fresh daily. They have nearly every variety of bagel you can possibly imagine. They toast and warm and slather bagels just the way you crave them. They also have wonderful egg dishes, sandwiches, and salads. I understand from people who actually drink coffee-related beverages that they make a mean latte. All in all, the food is great. It is so great that I would eat there even if the environment was less than appetizing. I would sit on a broken chair, wipe crumbs off a dirty table, and endure surly service just short of getting slapped in the face to enjoy a crispy, savory double-toasted poppy bagel with butter.

The thing is I don’t have to endure any such shortcomings. If there is anything more satisfying than the bagels at Bagels & Brew, it is the atmosphere. The place is warm and welcoming and cozy. There is a busy-ness and a bustle that feels cheerful, but never manic or rushed. There are booths and tables inside, as well as outdoor seating. People from all walks of life, ages, and interests seem to congregate with a nosh and a drink. I’ve overheard business meetings, Bible study discussions, dates, and crucial conversations while chomping my bagel. The folks who work there are cheerful and seem to be genuinely enjoying their jobs.

In fact, the employees make Bagels & Brew the “Cheers” of baked goods. Not only does everybody know your name and they’re always glad you came, but they remember what you like to eat and punch it into the register as you enter the store. When I was living in California, I could count on someone saying, “Good morning, Terri! The usual?” In fact, even when I made my first trip back to California after moving, the employee at the counter greeted me by name and remembered my poppy bagel double-toasted with butter… despite the fact that it had been over a YEAR since I had last darkened their doorstep. There is something very comforting about starting your day with a cheerful greeting from someone who cares enough to remember who you are and what you order. Starting your day with a few tasty grams of carbohydrates doesn’t hurt, either!

On my most recent trip to California, I confess that no one in Bagels & Brew greeted me by name. Of course, I’d lost some weight and completely changed my hairstyle, so I wasn’t really playing fair. The bagels were still delicious. The environment was still cozy. The employees were still friendly. In fact, everything was just as I remembered it.

Except….

As I entered the café on Wednesday, I noticed a sign announcing the availability of unicorn bagels on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. UNICORN BAGELS!!??!!! What?!! Wow. Just wow. I was all over it. I knew there was no way I was leaving California without experiencing a unicorn bagel. I returned the next day, propelled by curiosity and craving for a fantastical, mythical breakfast. The unicorn bagel was AWESOME. If a bagel and a rainbow-hued tornado had a baby, the result would be a unicorn bagel. To the more prosaic, the unicorn bagel is essentially a plain bagel wrapped in twisting, vibrant strips of food-colored dough. The result is a swirling, rolling rainbow of blues and pinks and yellows and greens. I, not being the prosaic type, was enchanted.

I was so enchanted, I wanted to buy a unicorn bagel t-shirt. Unfortunately, the store did not have my size in stock. The manager offered to go home and print me one so I could pick it up later in the day or the next morning. Who does that? People who like you, I guess. I was back the next morning to claim my freshly-printed purple unicorn bagel shirt. It took me three trips (not that I’m objecting to three mornings of fresh bagels!) to Bagels & Brew, but I can now say I’ve eaten a unicorn bagel and have the t-shirt to prove it.

I am the first to admit that there are parts of my personality that are just weird and neurotic. I regularly spend a certain amount of effort trying to contain those parts of my personality to keep me from going down in a fiery crash of insanity. There is another part of my personality, though, that is also weird, but I like to think is rather is charming.

It is the part of me that stalks Tinkerbell.

It is the part of me that hangs stockings at Christmas (including one for myself), fills them, and then asserts vehemently that the contents come from Santa Claus.

It is the part of me that is tickled pink by feeding lemurs and giraffes.

It is the part of me that wears my Bagels & Brew t-shirt proudly proclaiming, “Roll me in rainbows and call me a unicorn!”

I hope I never outgrow whimsy!

What is your favorite place where everybody knows your name and they’re always glad you came? Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at terriretirement@gmail.com. If anyone is interested in learning more about Bagels & Brew, you can check them out at www.bagelsandbrew.com.

6 thoughts on “Roll Me In Rainbows And Call Me A Unicorn”

  1. LOL. You’re making me crave a rainbow anything.

    When I was getting ready to retire, I realized that one of my lifelong desires was to “be Norm”. No, not normal. Norm, from Cheers. I wanted to have a place where everybody knew my name. And it wasn’t until I was ending my career that I realized that was work. There were 100 individuals in my technical area, and I knew 95% of them well enough to have a conversation about them – their interests, their family, or at least their work project. The woman taking over my role knew less that 45% of the them – we went over the list of folks and she was “who is this?” for so many folks. Yes, it worried me! I know it wasn’t a big part of my role, but I enjoyed knowing people and people knowing me. Yes, the introvert in me enjoyed it – I was Norm when I walked into amy meeting!

    I no longer have a place that people know my name. I understand it takes regularity and repeatability. With our recent move and then me being in cancer treatment and avoiding people a lot (I really, really cannot afford to get the flu this year!), I have not even started to find that place. And I miss it. A lot.

    Hopefully you’ll find a place in your new location that is as welcoming…even if they don’t serve unicorn rainbow anything!

    1. Your comment and Susie’s comment made me realize that my employment environment also was a place where everybody knew my name and was always glad I came. Yes, I was Norm in my workplace, as well. I love that! I do miss that rich, aged web of connections that I had with my work “family.” I do keep in touch with most of the folks who were most important to me while I was working, but it isn’t quite the same as being “home” with them. On the other hand, I am starting to develop those networks of people here in Florida, but I think the complexity and richness we think of in the “Norm effect” takes lots of years of relationship. I am sure I will find a new literal and metaphorical Cheers!

  2. Thank you for making me smile today!! I love your rainbow and unicorn enthusiasm!! You surely brightened my day!!

  3. My place where everyone knows my name is my old work site. They all know my name and are happy to see me when and if I visit there. We catch up on the latest news with everyone. I do associate with a few of them for breakfast, lunch or dinner here and there at times and that is how they keep tabs on me and my travels and family.
    The bagels look delicious. Are the rainbow bagels flavored with all those colors? I’m tempted to order a dozen, but they are strictly off my diet. No breafs.

    1. Based on your comment and Pat’s, I realized that is something I miss from working… a lot of people knew my name and considered me part of the gang. After spending 33 years of my life employed in the same circle, it was a kind of family. Susie, you are too good. I think I might just dissolve into a pile of goo if I banned bread from my diet. The bagels are delicious. The unicorn bagel is just multi-colored, not multi-flavored, but still delicious!

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