After searching for half an hour in this neighborhood for a place that wasn't filled with either lunch diners or tables set for lunch, I find a place that is apparently big enough to have space for me and my modest cup of espresso for a few hours. The tables are round, light-colored, seemingly plastic, with designs of abstracted rock veins running across them. My coffee came with sugar cubes, and the well-crumpled receipt now sits in a little red dish that begs in vain for me to leave coins in it to augment the tip. Green plastic Heineken ashtrays are getting pretty standard these days and, true to form, one is leering at me from the left side of my cup and saucer. Happily, the sun is shining in through the window behind me to warm my back.
A boy plays a Cactus Canyon pinball game. The sound has been turned off, so he plays three games at once very quietly, only the occasional noise of ball hitting plastic emmanates from the machine without the usual annoyingly amplified electronic accompanyment. He finishes his games and walks, all smiles, back to his mother sitting at the table just to my right.
Earlier a young man and woman came in, and the woman -- a girl, really -- accidentally tipped a nearby table, knocking the dishes off to break on the floor. She looked upset, her eyes fiercely denying that she had anything to do with it. The waiter simply asked them to move to another area of the cafe so he could sweep up the damage.
Little light spheres hang from an abstract fixture that makes a crooked, curving path above the bar counter.
Copyright © 2002 David Sadegh.
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