By chance I am on kitchen duty that morning too, so we are introduced at last, one of the other long-term residents — let’s call them Iro — placing a hand on your shoulder, interrupting your reverie, so that you jump and they apologize, saying they wanted to introduce us — gesturing with a tilt of the head at where I stand, I nodding as our gazes meet — as it occurred to them perhaps we had not yet met. On this morning kitchen duty for me has meant cleaning out the floor drain behind the dishwashing station with the powerwasher. It is something I try to get to every few months. In a restaurant they’d be lucky to get to it once a year, and they’d be doing far more volume than this kitchen ever sees, not to mention that the clientele, say, of one of the places in town with a forty-five-minute wait for a two-up on a warm spring evening is less constrained by injunctions against waste of the sort that represent an abiding precept of life at the retreat center. Truth be told, I see very little platescraping action on dishwashing duty, and most of it goes straight into the compost. But taking care with one’s living space is another of our precepts, and in any case I need to give myself some kind of activity that makes our introduction a little awkward, so let’s imagine that on this morning kitchen duty for me has meant cleaning out the floor drain with the powerwasher — perhaps I noticed a backwash the other day — and when you turn, following Iro’s gaze, you see my forehead is smudged and there’s some kind of dark stain spreading across the white smock I’ve tied on over my kitchen duty henley and skirt. I nod again, wiping my hands on the apron, then, holding them up and regarding them with a dubious gaze, I offer you an elbow instead. The kitchen is where I feel most alive, apart from when I’m outside tending my experimental plots in the garden, so my alpha is relatively high, maybe sixty percent? maybe as high as eighty, and between that and the bright 4000K lighting of the kitchen reflecting off the white tile and stainless steel you don’t notice I’m a little see-through.