Sunday, September 06, 2009

Watching the Feather

Alone on a Sunday on the weekend of Labor Day, I think about the possiblilies for the day.
No friends have called with invitations, and He is sailing, sailing away again, as if he might never return.

In lieu of going out in the car, I decide to breakfast at the Regency. I can walk there in no time at all, and perhaps I might meet one of the neighbors to talk with.

When I get there, Chris, the owner/baker is relaxing outside. I get a nice smile, his curly almond colored hair peeking out of his perpetual baseball cap, his eyes, bright in recognition of a semi-regular customer. Generally, I only go once a week, it being expensive to eat out every morning, and I have a date with my neighbor Mari on the next street. She is busy as a rule, and this is our one time together, though she admits to popping in several extra times a week for her daily au lait.

Having exchanged pleasantries with Chris, I go and order my treat for the day, orange plum scone and accidentally latte instead of au lait, with a bit of caramel syrup.

"I'll be outside" I inform the new girl at the register. In fact, everyone is new, and not knowing the facts of their disposition; school, fired, just left, I have to suspect a new regime with none of the colorful regulars to inspire mutiny among the ranks.

I retire with my scone to a black mesh table under the basically unnecessary awning, as it is on the shady side of the street, and pick up my book; interesting enough and well written, but the narrator is back, and I find nearly everything around me diverting and interesting. My internal companion, speaking in my head, will not stop talking, pointing out the interesting and mundane in no specific order.

Chris himself brings my drink, which is when I can tell, by the inscribed feather in the foam, that I have ordered the latte, with espresso, instead of the au lait, with regular coffee. Some days the latte is kind of bitter, but today, with the inclusion of a heavy dose of caramel, is maybe a bit too sweet, but the dark gritty flavor comes through making it totally indulgent.

As I read, I try to measure out the scone to last until I have finished my beverage, but that's just not going to happen. The two flavors, melded with the butter and flour make a soft crumbly pastry, and it is gone though thoroughly savored, before I have finished drinking.

I love it when I get the feather in my drink, and earlier, months before, I thought I was getting special treatment, a little picture just for me. It is a bad habit my sister chides me for, ascribing specialness to myself. In point of fact, I do not actually think it a bad habit, and also believe myself to be an outsider as I am treated as such by the general public.

With every sip, I expect the feather to disappear, and yet, it remains, long after I am convinced it should. The foam on the coffee is very fine and thick, and I can not drink it separately, but combined with the espresso below. Towards the bottom of the cup, the feather, barely changed, the sweetness becomes cloying, but I must finish to find out the end of my quest. Will it remain in the cup, sitting on the bottom, or will it be quaffed three quarters of the way down?

As it happens, the image does not dispel until the last sip, leaving the slightest tracing of white in a coating that looks like the fur on an elk's antlers, velvety and uncompromised. I wonder if there is someone who can read foam as they do tea leaves. Of course there is always someone who will take your money under false pretences, and I don't really know about the tea leaves, either.

Reluctantly, having met no one else I know, I bus my dishes, and head home with only the narrator chatting away, and my eyes pointing out every stray leaf, and patch of blue sky as a possible photograph.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Post Mortem

Let's face it. Both popcorn and french fries have a shelf life of say, plus or minus five minutes.

I came to work and decided that popcorn would have to be the breakfast of champions today.
As hot and steamy as popcorn comes from the microwave, it soon cools and only minutes after, becomes less fabulous, like a husband, or a diamond, or any other thing which is hard to obtain.

French fries are much the same, first you burn the inside of your mouth on the initial bite, then there is a minute or so where they are delicious, crisp hot oily ambrosia, and then, not.

We always keep eating them to the bottom though. We eat ever faster, trying to recapture the sensation of the first couple, but as the seconds tick by they become soggy, doughy, heavy, similes for the delight we craved when we started eating.

I got nothing else, I'm just calling the shots here.

Lost in Austen Again

I rushed off to the market this morning, tying my bonnet before I had even got in the carriage...
Actually, there was no bonnet involved, but something is afoot.

I was on my way to work at the chandelier restorator where I am employed, and saw a sign for a yard sale. There was nothing enticing about this sign, but follow it I did, to a sale of antiques on a driveway. I asked the guy in the tractor hat how he came to have so much not-junk.

It turned out that he was a clean out guy. In other words, an estate liquidator, or maybe it's the other way. In any case, there was a dazzling array of brass, finely polished, an old silver mirror and brush set, a good deal of depression glass and an impressive collection of black glass which is mysterious and wonderful in itself.

He had a bit of everything, and of course, I needed nothing, but still came away with a tin from his estimable display- Prince Albert, for my father who used to tell of his phone pranks; "well, if he's in a can, let him out!". I also, and for no known reason bought a set of Gumby and his pony Poky, a show from early TV, and what may have been a biker neclace of silver with a claw grasping a rather large chunk of quartz.

I left there to pick up a prescription, and going into the Acme (pinnacle of greatness) I was waylaid by the odor of cooking crab, that at 9 am, no less. Yes, just as in days of old, they were cooking crabs over an open fire, surely a code infraction in these fractious and litigious days. I tarried but for a moment, realizing that I could not take hot crabs, nor live ones to work with me, and sighing, moved into the building.

As I rushed past the aisles of artificial boxed foodstuffs, I came upon a tiny display at the side of an endcap that was comprised of English Foods. There was treacle, TREACLE, for God's sake, which foodstuff I had only read about in fairy tales. Also present was a sauce in an A-1 bottle bearing a name that was more like H-4 (the original) it said the original, that was not my addition. There were digestive bisquits, Devon cream custard, pickallili, Coleman't mustard, all antiquated and definitely English foods.

I mentioned it to the beautiful pharmacy girl whose name always escapes me though she knows my name, and she asked "So you feel like you are in another time period?"
Yes, I said, somehow, things are just a bit wonky this morning. She asked where the section was, and I said "somewhere around 6 I think, on the side. Or I could have made it up."

After that, we discussed yogurts, and I suppose the spell was broken, but it made me happy to have a little out of the normal experience. I was not, even after all that, late for work.