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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Working in Coffeehouses, Part 397

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.

“You wake up next morning with a hangover, and then . . . ”

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.

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