Pizza With My Woadie

by Jim on 2013/05/26

[Jimbaux knows that, sometimes, goodbye is the only way . . . ]

If you have come here only for trains, you can leave now.

The Sun Will Set For You

In a literal sense, this is an illustrated pizza recipe, but I hope that you’ll realize that this post is about far more than pizza.

My friend William came over to my place when I was in real pain with the spine problems two months ago, and he cooked some vegan soup for me, his own recipe.  I told him that I wanted to learn how to cook that, that we should get together at his place and cook it and that I’d photograph it and put the results here.  However, when I went to his place on May 9, he had just done his vegan soup and wanted pizza for a change, something that I think a little less worthy of photographing and publicizing, but it’s presented here nonetheless as, again, this is far more than just about food.

I am overcome with emotion right now, a mixture of sadness in the form of pain of loss and happiness that some friends are doing what they really want to do.  William will be moving out of New Orleans in early June and moving to China later this summer.  He plans to spend three years there.  I am very sad to lose such a great friend, but that’s somewhat selfish, as I am happy that he’s doing what he wants to do.  I learned much more recently that someone else whom I’ve gotten to know well in the last year will be leaving the country for at least two years.  It provoked a similar reaction of selfish sadness and happiness, as I will miss her greatly, though I’ve known of William’s plans for a long time, and this other friend made the decision much more recently.

Your Friends Plead With You To Stay

Nope.  That’s not happening here, but that is a line in today’s song, one that has struck me upon my great feelings of torment in the last few days, though I’m now better.  Yes, sometimes, goodbye is the only way, but let’s talk about pizza for now.  First, we get our aluminum foil on the pan.

Look, bear with me, okay?  I know that most of you know how to make pizza.  That’s not the point, dammit.  Understood?

Here is William’s ingredients list, not as useful as vegan soup, but, whatever:

  • 1 pizza crust (either premade or from a can)
  • 1 cup spaghetti or pizza sauce
  • 2 cups cheese of preference
  • whatever toppings you want
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

. . . or . . .

  • 1 pizza crust (either premade or from a can)
  • 1 small jar of pesto 1 cup mozerrela cheese
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese artichoke hearts spinach
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

. . . and . . .

  • basil
  • oregano
  • tony chachere’s

So, let’s roll out the crust.

Then we spread some olive oil on top of the crust.

Let’s chop some vegetables.

That’s spinach, my homies, and now we’re chopping some peppers.

See that glass into which William is putting the scraps?  That’s what he will feed his chicken, who will ‘feed’ William back some eggs!  William has already arranged for one of his colleagues to adopt his chicken.  Myself, I got a small fan and a blender on a more recent trip to William’s place.

William arrived in New Orleans in mid-2009, I met him shortly thereafter, and we became good friends in 2010.  I will really miss him.

I should have asked for that chopping board; it may be already claimed.

Okay, so William applied barbecue sauce to one end of the pizza.

Do y’all remember when I did a cooking thing two years ago with Kate??

Okay, now we have the garlic, spinach, peppers, and onions on top of the pizza, and William is about to drop the seasoning.

Want to take another look?  Check this out.

Yeah, I know; it’s probably nothing that you haven’t done before yourself.

Okay, William is getting everything set before we put the pizza in the oven.

So, now the pizza goes in the oven, and while waiting, William and I chit-chat and play guitar.

Sometimes, Goodbye Is The Only Way

What does it mean to be ambitious?  Fortune indeed favors the bold, and what can we learn from Brutus’s accusation of Caesar being ambitious?  Is a feeling that someone else is too ambitious a sign of jealousy on one’s part?  I wonder about those I know who move to far-off lands to learn, to teach, and to live.  I admire them.  So, should that admiration translate into a feeling that I should do the same thing?  I don’t know, but it probably does less today than it did before.  I could get plenty out of such an experience, and I probably would be able to give plenty too.  Wait!  I already did something almost like that!  However, although I lived in Mexico for two months and wanted to stay there longer, I am not right now trying really hard to do something cool in another country, despite knowing that I could gain from the experience and that others could gain from my presence there.  What does that mean?  Does that mean that I doubt my abilities, or that I lack ambition?  I’m not really sure, especially as I may lack ambition about some things and not others, but I know logically that if I really wanted to do something like that now, I could do so.  Perhaps it’s merely the opportunity cost of what else I could do that stops me.  In any case, as I wrote recently on the Facebook page, I’m somewhat bothered by my relative apathy about this topic.  Why?  What does that mean?  If I can’t change that about myself because that’s who I really am, why should I even care? about not caring?  In other words, since I don’t (apparently) care (or that much), why should I care if I don’t care?

As I wondered aloud earlier this week, I’m not sure what the point of life is, but I’m thankful that Ben Schumin reminded me in the comments in so many words that I needed to embrace the uncertainty.  Thanks, Ben.  Each person must decide – or perhaps realize – his or her own purpose in life; it is often helpful to see how others decide or realize purpose, and if you are incapable of creating or realizing your own, it’s okay to use one of the prefabricated purposes in the form of religion or ideology, but it is still ultimately your decision.  All of us need friends, though, but we all need experiences and expanding of our comfort zones, and that’s what our visit to William reminds us.  He is breaking away from the city where he has lived for four years and the country that he has always called home – and all of the friends and family there – for something that will ultimately make him a better person full of purpose; he plans to be in China for three years and then return to the United States.

Per recent discussions with colleagues, there’s really nothing stopping me from deciding to move to, say, Chile – a country that I’d really love to visit and get to know – to teach English (or something like that) for a year or two.  Should I do it?  Well, as for now, I have some goals on which to work that basically require me to be here; so, I guess that means I’m in the right place?  That’s for me to decide, of course, and it seems to be the essence of master morality, but perhaps it also relates to James Sims’s response to the aforelinked question posted on Facebook.  My only response to Sims’s question is to ask how one knows that all that he can do is really all that he can do; does that make sense?

Some might think that this is too much personal stuff; I can’t help but be real, and I hope that some see the value in being real.  Isn’t it noble to strive for self-awareness?  Perhaps in this recipe of pizza, we can make a list of ingredients for self-awareness.

The Finished Product

After some time of discussion and playing guitar, it was time to remove the pizza from the oven.

It looks good to me.  Below, you can see William cutting the pizza.

And it tasted good too.  Thanks, William, not just for the pizza, but for four good years of friendship.  Sometimes, goodbye is the only way.

Now, as I type this, I have learned that the cause of death of a cousin’s husband a few days ago was an apparent suicide.  Somehow, he must have lost his sense of purpose.  A tragedy it is indeed.

Yes, we will return to trains in the next post, the results from a foaming expedition that I took with my woadie Kurt of Norfolk Southern Hampton Division fame.

I apologize if the writing in this post seemed disjointed; I wrote it in various sittings over the course of a week, and I’m finally done.  What do you think?


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nitro May 28, 2013 at 20:10

Yes , its not about trains but it’s what you see and feel and that’s why I love reading your posts


2 Ray Duplechain May 28, 2013 at 21:53

I agree with Nitro, I like this kind of “stuff”. I think I will try your recipe; looks easy for enough for an “old timer” to accomplish, eh?


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