Friday, June 27, 2008

Weird Coffee

Constant fantasy, takes the place of travel, much cheaper, easier on back and feet: daydream I am in a strange city in a strange country when in fact I am only in New York. (Only!)

Today, awoke groggy (two margaritas and a vodka-and-tonic), no coffee, no computer, no conversation, nothing but instinct in gear, took manuscript and pencils - not to the Vandam Diner (as usual, if I'm up for breakfast) but to Starbucks on Hudson as it is next to my bank. Stood on line, but barely time to decide: do I want coffee, ice coffee, americano? Chose coffee and marble cake, but the woman at the counter, though smiling at me, was not speaking to me; she was speaking to the woman behind her, patiently, merrily, directing her on the next chore to handle, and doing this constantly as I tried to marshal thoughts, words, concepts to her, feeling as if distracted, rejected by her smile at me off purpose with her continual words not at me, the line behind me goading me not to wait longer, tongue refusing to sync with concept, desire - finally I blurted, "Coffee, medium size, with music." "With music?" she finally addressed me. "I mean, with room for milk." "Hot or ice?" Was she speaking to me? As I said, "Hot," she chattered again, still smiling into my eyes, but to the woman behind her. Threw me again. "And a marble cake." Somehow I escaped.

Had she been speaking Turkish? Croatian? Italian? Dutch? French? Quebec French?

Is this the new conversational manner - speak as if on ear phones (but she wasn't even wearing ear phones) with no connection between face, smile, and words? Would I get this, not be thrown by it, if I were 22 or had a cell phone or a bluetooth or were happily traveling in a foreign country?

Somewhat rattled, sat do my copy editing for a chapter or two.

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