I opened the freezer this morning and what you see to the left is what I saw: not one, not two, but THREE loaves of frozen bread.
The practice of freezing bread is one of the many inexorable signs of the slide into Formerly.
I’m not talking about really good farmers market bread with olives or pecans that you can’t resist but know you won’t finish, so you freeze and enjoy it toasted with cream cheese and really good coffee on the weekend. That’s reasonable. What’s not is hoarding perfectly ordinary supermarket bread as if you and only you have reliable intelligence suggesting an impending shortage.
Why is this a sign of Formerlydom? Because it betrays an utterly irrational fear that at some point, you will go to the supermarket for bread, and–even though this has never happened in the history of your adult life–that day, when your need for bread is so acute, THERE WILL BE NO BREAD.
It may not occur to you on a conscious level, but somewhere in your Formerly lizard brain, your gathering instinct will kick in. You will be compelled against all reason, maybe thinking of long gone grandparents who lived through the depression, to grab not one, but two loaves of bread. “I’ll just freeze one in case we run out,” you think, and it will seem perfectly logical in the moment. I got news for you: It’s not.
If you have two Formerlies living together, both of whom shop for groceries, you wind up with a freezer like mine, with multiple rock solid bricks of Pepperidge Farm that can really hurt when they land on your toes.
I think this has to do with risk tolerance as we get older. Freezing bread is a very mild sign that your risk tolerance is decreasing; checking the weather more than once before you leave the house is another–remember when you were in your 20s, getting rained on was the least of your concerns, well after whether you had tan lines or if a guy called you the day after a date, that made him a refreshing non-game-player, or a psycho stalker loser on whom a background check should be run? Eventually you’re your parents, who won’t leave the house without knowing FOR CERTAIN that there’s easy parking at their destination. Winging it? Not an option.
I’m comfortable with my Formerly status, but I am going to try to resist buying any more bread for the time being, and then limit myself to one loaf at a time. It’s hardly living on the edge, risking running out of bread. But it’s something. I could use a little excitement in my life.