The Juicebox/Soup Peddler Project V

When we last met, we were discussing my absolute joy with the architectural design process. The vision was beginning to focus, to cohere in my mind.

And then, The City.

The City gets a bad rap... it's very easy to complain about the dysfunction of bureaucracy. But I have to say that thus far, this has been a fairly wrinkle-free* process in terms of interfacing with the City.

But here's the thing: One wouldn't think, using basic analytical skills, that a takeout kiosk like the one we were planning would require a restroom for customers. After all, every mobile vendor and food trailer from here to East Pleasant Valley is free of that regulation. (For the record, I don't have the least problem with this.) You just apply a little

If a = b And b = c Then

a = c

End If

and you're good to go. Unfortunately, math only goes so far in the real world, so my excellent architect, Micah Land, received word that a restroom would be required for this concept. So we just lost 50 of our precious 213 square feet.

"It's definitely going to be a tight fit," said Micah.

In the first of a series of what is surely to be an oft-repeated joke, I said, "I think we should think outside the box here." If we have to put in a restroom, we might as well get a decent amount of seating out of it, and if we get a decent amount of seating, we're going to need all of that already scanty square footage to serve those folks. Micah went back to the drawing board with Michael et al and I began to walk away scratching my head.

"Oh, I also found out we're going to need a grease trap."

It was then that I realized that a new business venture is a lot like a new relationship. "This is going to be gangbusters! We're going to just be printing money!" is akin to "My new girl, you know, she's a supermodel. And she is absolutely crazy about me. But as various pesky little realities insinuate themselves upon the scene, it slowly morphs into: "Well, it turns out she's actually just a hand model, and she's also dating this other guy that she's pretty into."

It's not really that bad, and a grease trap requirement really isn't the kind of thing that ought to send someone to the medicine cabinet. But there is definitely an interesting psychological aspect to the whole entrepreneurship thing; an entrepreneur's cortex features a certain anti-negativity synaptic web structure that has to be cemented together with some very stout adhesive.

Entrepreneurs have to wake up each morning and write their own scripts. They write, act, direct, and produce. Some of us do the soundtrack and special effects too. It just takes a lot of gumption to wake up every morning and say, "Listen up, people. This is what we're going to do. I have no idea if any of this is going to work. Who's with me?" At its best, you're a ship captain. Grandeur, bravery. Slick uniform, epaulettes. At worst, you're Willy Loman. All noble artifice and a tired gray suit.

When I first began The Soup Peddler, I had a feeling of riding a conveyer, being constantly whooshed forward, and the ever-approaching series of doors would slam open in front of me. I hold that feeling close and always try to find if the world is being receptive and inviting to me or if it's blocking me at every turn. I'm not sure if that's very sound intuition, because some say the best things are worth the most fight. But who knows where the folks who say things like that actually end up? I do know that that sense is my weathervane. The winds may swirl, the readings change, but the weathervane generally gets it right.

Uh. Where was I?

I was rending my clothes in lamentation over the complexification of our little endeavor. I probably regained my composure with a little dip at Barton Springs. Soon enough, it was time to head back to the Hsu Studio and see what they had cooked up for me.

Oh. Okay. So you're saying... elegant, modern, simple, clean, breath of fresh air, bracing, stimulating, vital. Everything that screams soup and South Lamar. Everything that could scream soup and South Lamar.

I got my mojo back!

(to be continued)