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A Gray Day at the Café

The sky is a muddy blend of pale blue and battleship gray today. It seems to draw the brightness off of shiny metal surfaces and even seems to dull the headlights of passing cars. Strangely enough, even the yellow gold warmth of the café's hanging lamps is absorbed into the grayness of the sky outside as it reaches the expanse of windows. Like a big gray sponge.

Cars come and go. Beemers and beaters. Pickup trucks, SUVs, minivans, compact cars. Sometimes I'm surprised by the drivers of cars that arrive. For instance, a small asian woman who seems no more than 13 or 14 years old, driving a new VW Passat. A rough and tumble tradesman jumps out of a utilitarian white pickup truck. A well-dressed middle aged woman with funky glasses climbs into a seemingly appropriate BMW. A group of three commuters, lattés in hand, converge on a single car and climb in, sharing the ride to work.

Inside the café, patrons enter and order, following the signs to the pickup station, grab fancy coffees and leave again. Caffeinate and repeat. Espresso machine whooshes in the distance, turning milk into a hot foamy substance. Large skim almond latte! Small chai tea! That'll be $17.02 please. Have a great day! Get back on the road. Go, go go. Get to work. Sip, sip.

It's an interesting mix of customers. At the counter, a Middle aged woman with short, slightly burgundy spikey hair and a red scarf waits in line. A tall, slim, red-haired man in army pants and cross trainers (who looks like a vertically stretched version of the guy who visits Neo's apartment for a disc in the first Matrix film) leaves the café for his car. A Business man in a tightly wrapped brown trench-coat, leaves with his drink... he's in a hurry.

Near the coffee pickup station, a woman who looks like a living doll waits for a chai. She sports a head of jet black hair, perfectly trimmed to the shape of a black olive. Her dark locks provide a stark contrast to her very fair skin. The unnaturally pink wool coat she wears completes the look perfectly. A businessman in a tidy dark gray pinstriped suit and close shaven hair, sits in one of the leather easy chairs by the fireplace, sipping at his white coffee cup, reading a novel.

As I walked to the café earlier this morning, I noticed that the mechanical billboard across the street was getting a bit stuck in the 15 degree cold. It's still not working right. Tall, thin triangular bars, each one with a narrow sliver of the billboard applied to it form the surface of the billboard. These bars are mounted tightly together to look almost like a single surface. Every few moments these triangular pieces rotate in unison, displaying one of three billboards encoded on each of side of the triad surface. But a quarter of the left edge seems off by just a few degrees, leaving a strange sub image in place. The slacker quarter.

Now the sky is a lighter shade of gray, but it still cancels out the warm yellow light. It's one of those days when I wish for a sunny, green, late spring day. Oh well, I've got a few months to wait for that. Sip, sip.

Reader Comments (1)

January 9, 2004 | Unregistered CommenterChinchorrero

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