Bagels here and gone

When I was in college in Washington D.C. we used to go to a bagel place called "Booeymongers". When going to Booey's (as we fondly referred to it) I would get the same order each time: Patty Hearst open faced on an onion bagel (translation: onion bagel with Thousand Island dressing, roast turkey, bacon, topped with Swiss cheese.) Trust me when I tell you, it was heaven on earth. I could eat that sandwich for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I never got tired of it. To this day, 20 years later, I still remember the order, remember the taste, remember the feeling I got when sitting with friends and devouring it completely.

So now I return to D.C. periodically and find myself in a quandary: to go back to Booey's and get the Patty Hearst open-faced on an onion bagel or to leave it be. The question is a little harder than it may seem. "Go for it!" I have friends urge me. Those who no longer live there want me to tell them if it's the same. Those who do live there want me to quit talking about it when a decision needs to be made about where to go for breakfast. But for me, I'm undecided about what to do.

There is something to be said for having a memory of something be so delightful and so rich that you merely need to think one thought about it and you are transported back to a different time. I worry that going back I may find that it is not nearly as delicious or satisfying or memorable as I have built that sandwich to be in my mind.

I have had experiences where going back someplace that holds good memories and having things not be as I remembered somehow tarnishes the memory itself. I have had other experiences where going back to revisit a place that I loved or had a meal I enjoyed before is heightened by the delight experienced years after, imbuing the memory with new life and a new dimension.

But as to the Patty Hearst, I am perplexed and I am stuck. I can't seem to move myself in that direction but I can't let go either. What will happen? I don't know. But I know for sure that revisiting that time in my mind  brings pleasure no matter whether I order another sandwich or not.

After all, this is the life.


Post a Comment