word by
Sinae Park
What Can Bagels Stand for Twenty First Century Friendship?

“Excuse me, do you mind me asking how to get to Brick Lane?”. “You’re really brave”, said my friend. As we nervously carried ourselves to Brick Lane stopping at every single map, we finally spotted a sign, “Beigle Shop”. I instantly figured that that was not quite a place where we intended to go. Bagels didn’t seem to live in their shop window. They were on the back of the shop. My eyes swiftly moved to the other shops. There they are. You can see the lovely, shiny surface of the dough gracefully curved inward right through the window.

Without doubt (actually few seconds between croissants but we decided to get both as you should), we claimed, “Can I have bagel with cream cheese please?”

Bagged in an old-fashioned brown bag, they got placed on counter in a hot second and I was no near the word of hesitation. My watery mouth was instantly stuffed with dough smothered with cream cheese. Bagel and Cream Cheese. It is that simple. Classic plain bagels. There’s no need for add-on. Just that with cream cheese but it is instantly filling my tummy with joy of having this familiar and good food.

This seeminly petty obsession about bagels all came from a conversation with a friend who used to be Boston based Bagel eater, now with me happily stuffing our mouths with £1.20 bagels. After long hours at the studio, we finally settled our bums cosily on the sofa at cafe, “Did you used to eat bagels a lot back home?”, and I added, “I really miss it”.

The conversation we had about bagels seemed to be the objects that just marked throughout our early 20s. Aside of the fact that it is delicious bagels seemed like the girl that I liked who was approachable but didn’t feel too pretty nor did she try to be one of them. She was just effortless but meant slightly more to me. 

Anxiously shaping who I might be, confidently defining who others were, the second floor of Dunkin Donut was my place to be alone reflecting on friendships, idly writing the proposal for "modern art appreciation society" that I ambiguously belonged to, and watching junk shows. To accompany with them, slightly stale bagels from "DD" was perfect especially when they were toasted.

Similar to my memoire with bagels, my friend’s relationship with bagels was solitary but in a pleasant way, having obtained the skill to smear the cream cheese in a hot second out of everyday bagel, she would go on T which is a subway system in Boston and stretch people’s capability to stand the smell of her food.

Now that, we toasted our joy with our last bites of bagels, we both had to agree that bagels are more than bagels as they always have been -- within them, we created something more than our individual experiences.  

Not that do I dismiss our solitary experience with bagels but it is more like celebrating the conveyance of the “everyman’s food” letting it lace our individual experience into something solid as them. ✰
Sinae Carrotate Park