Saturday, January 14, 2006

First Day

Lana makes an entrance with two friends in tow. The coffee house has an L shape, the door being at the end of the short leg of the L, which means that almost everyone makes an entrance when they turn the corner and head to one of the two cashiers.

"Lana! It's been a long time!" Three others are shouting various greetings in the background in both English and Cantonese. Lana is well known by the local barristas. She is tall, Chinese, and has long hair that stirs lightly on her navy blue blazer. Embarrassed by the many turns of heads, she holds a finger up to her pursed lips and waves their attention away with quick flutters of her other hand. She walks up to the counter and leans over the espresso machine to be heard over the sounds of steaming milk. One of the barristas nods in understanding and begins busying himself with filters and tamps. Lana leaves the counter and joins her friends at a table just behind the cream and sugar counter.

The room is dark despite the plethora of track lighting throughout. Two cashiers border each side of the cake display counter, making customers strategically chose their position. The distance is such that they must commit. The left or the right. Stand near to the cheesecake or the sandwiches. They can't have them both. Most people appear to be lazy, stopping at the nearest cashier, ignoring request to come to the cashier without customers. The first cashier is closer to the espresso machine. The coffee order must come faster from there.

Three minutes later, the barrista brings Lana and her two friends three cups of various brews. "Latte? cappuccino?" They already have their accoutrements at the table - two types of sugar and green stirrers. They efficiently begin popping their lids and stirring. They replace the lids on the paper cups and sip in synchronicity.

Lana sees a manager enter the room from the back. She stands and excuses herself from the table. They approach each other and hug when they meet. The embrace is brief but firm and close. Smiles and smalltalk prevail. Lana nods and backs away. The manager does the same. Lana returns to the table, still smiling.


Post a Comment

<< Home