There is no one else sitting in this section of square tables and green metal, green seat-cushioned chairs, but if I look to my right, there is another me in a large mirrored column. Past the column is a game machine where someone was playing a solitaire-type game earlier, his hand racing across the touch-sensitive screen in an effort to beat the clock. Between the game and the column are steps leading down to the inevitable downstairs restrooms. Above the stairs is a sign, partially obscured by one of the green plants around the top, that says something (alcohol? game machines?) is forbidden to persons under 16 years old, and that the use of the games, telephones and toilets is reserved for customers only. Now I hear the sound of someone beating on something -- it sounds like a child beating on an empty tub, but that doesn't seem likely.
A blue tube of powdered sugar sits on my espresso saucer -- it says "Lavazza" in big bold letters on one side and "sucre" in much smaller, nondescript lettering on the other. The whiteness of the cup and saucer glistens as if it were freshly glazed, and the interior of the cup has a light brown frothy film with a darker brown ring closer to the top.
Above the plants, above the steps, is the Rapido monitor. Past the solitaire game machine, above a refrigerated cabinet, is a television screen upon which winter sports are being broadcast on a sports station. The game of the moment is that strange sport where a fat, handled disk is sent down an icy lane while two players frantically brush the surface of the lane in front of it with brooms to try to guide it along. A third person jumps in to help with all the scrubbing but the thing still doesn't get anywhere near the bullseye at the other end. Scrubbing in front of the disk seems to slow it down. They say you learn something new every day, but whether that knowledge will ever come in handy definitely remains to be seen.
Copyright © 2002 David Sadegh.
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