Have you ever heard the expression – Not my circus, not my monkeys?
It originated from Poland. But it applies to all races, genders, and distinct individuals.
Meaning: Don’t drag me into your drama and issues – I won’t be involved.
However, this isn’t the case with me.
My apartment building is my circus and most of its residents my monkeys. This isn’t by choice, but compulsion.
I’m a bachelor. One achievement no one can take from me.
Also, a chef. One skill that has brought me money and modest fame.
I’m forever experimenting, creating recipes, documenting culinary wonders.
This is also my greatest folly.
People and their noses have a way of finding me. It could be the pleasant aromas, or the assumption that a man without family is a man who’s always free.
The doorbell rings at any hour, morning and evening, any day of the week. Every person in my building seems to know when I’m home.
They come with empty hands and occupied minds. Grinning from ear to ear, but something missing in their eyes.
Guests are equivalent to God, according to a Sanskrit verse.
So out comes the tea. Could also be coffee. And there’s always a snack or two waiting to be shared. They can never get enough of my cooking.
As their tummies fill, their hearts begin to spill doubts, fears, and abundant regrets. I listen, offering them the only remedy I have – more food and drink.
They chew, swallow, speaking their minds, entrusting me with more than I can handle. But their lives aren’t recipes that I can rewrite with new seasonings and spices.
I’ve mastered the tastes of cuisine not the flavors of life.
Yet they still come. Maybe food is the most trustworthy connection.
And I keep my monkeys well fed.