Puffy Life-Rafts of Carb Dept.: Sunday morning. Ten o’clock. The rest of the family pursuing other interests nearby. I repair to my favorite coffeehouse for a revivifying bagel and a flagon of Italian Roast.
The place is crowded. I settle at the only available table. I can’t help but eavesdrop on my neighbors, but I get only provocative fragments.
“She had to be evacuated.”
I have four reviews due this week. I’ve started a page for each of them. Once I’ve nailed the lede, it’s usually smooth sailing. Hard to stay focused, however. I blame it on the bagel, which soon disappears.
“’Cause sometimes I lose control. I do.”
The bins were unusually depleted as I waited to order, but just as I became the next-in-line, a pile of everything bagels emerged from the kitchen. “Toasted everything bagel,” I said, “unless it’s hot.” The comely attendant plucked my breakfast from the bin and said, “Do you want cream cheese with the lox?”
“Sorry. I meant don’t toast it if it’s really hot. But lox sounds good.”
“Do you want some?”
No. Not ready for that flavor just yet. I want heat, hence jalapeno cream cheese. Navigating back to my table requires a bumper-cars avoidance of those who wander and stop suddenly, who can’t find the trash can, who socialize mid-aisle. It’s a grumpier I who reclaims my seat, but a few slugs of the rich brew restore my peace of mind.
“And he’s like, ‘Okay,’ and I’m like, God, I really have to go out with him.”
Fresh flowers on my table have a calming effect – but are they counteracting the caffeine? Time for a refill, and another crack at one of those ledes.