Sunday, January 15, 2006


Today's quote is by Garrison Keillor. "It's a shallow life that doesn't give a person a few scars." Every place has a blackboard near the entrance. I don't know if the quote is the same citywide or if every coffeehouse can have a different quote. I don't like the idea. These days, I would take a few less scars for a little less depth. I'd rather not have someone tell me what I should value in life. Just sell me a cup a coffee. This is easier said than done.

"A small latte and. . . ."

"A soy latte. . ."

" No, a small latte."

"Yes, a soy latte."

"Are you saying 'soy'? Because I just want a small latte. With regular milk." Fung comes over from the machine to save the day. "Just a small size latte, right?" Yeah. Right. Some days are easier than others. This isn't one of them.

Fannie works the register and takes the orders. I can't help but think that she may have been misplaced. She is short, the shortest of the four. Her shoulders barely clear the counter. Each of them dresses distinctively to preserve some sense of identity behind their black aprons. Fannie in black, Fung, the tallest of the four with a Pokemon haircut, in red, and Vien in a white, long-sleeve button-front. Fung makes the drinks when they need to be made and Vien does the rounds, collecting plates and cups.

Fannie stands behind the register and writes intently on a yellow pad. When she finishes with her important scribbling, she waits patiently for the next customer, staring blankly ahead. After minutes pass, a fake blonde walks up and asks for the key to the bathroom. After she leaves the side door, Fannie returns to her waiting.

More minutes pass and a family of three approaches Fannie. No one has coffee but the boy, no older than four, stands on tip toe and pushes a cookie onto the counter. Fannie bends down and slows her deliberate speech to attempt to talk to the boy, but he loses interests and turns to look for other distractions. I am reassured as Fannie has additional communication difficulties even when she's trying her hardest. I hope that Fannie isn't scarred by the experience.


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