Customer carried laptop into bathroom with him, in the open position with one hand. Customer asked customer: if he was hanging around for a while, would he watch his computer while he went to retrieve something from his apartment? Customer said that some of his potato chips fell on the floor –he ate them– except for this one fragment, the one he was now holding up for the attendant to see, the one he was now setting down on the plate –the plate the attendant was now taking up– because it had fallen beneath the table leg and he’d scratched around with his fingers for it before he could get it up. Customer said the Eritrean language had many more letters in its alphabet than the English alphabet did.

Attendant attempted to solve “three dollar credit minimum equation” for customer (2.32 plus what item > 3 dollars) but she found cash.

Power and money, had said boss with feeling, nodding toward sign of our landlord across street.

Customer, thinking I was boss, complained to me about behavior of boss.

Customer veered away, scrunching, as I hovered above him and adjusted the thermostat

Customer attributed closure of a well-known place around here to the erratic business decisions of the owner — yet the attendant proved skeptical of his anecdotal proofs.

Customer said how could he ever have anything other than an everything bagel, which must be the best, because it had everything? Attendant replied that if the bagel was everything it must contain both good and bad things and so could not be the best. (What’s truly the best must have only good things or best things.)

Customer said he would be driving to North Carolina for the holiday. He said the days reported to be the biggest shopping days generally made for very poor business at his own small store.

Customer used the phrase “medley of cramps” in describing his experience running a marathon.

Abrupt change in forecast: severe summer storm likely, reports radio.

Attendant thought of the characteristics of what he called the leftist libertarian: the leftist libertarian was in favor of the welfare state — of the baseline needs of people being freely provided by government– but was for a radical departure from social norms, especiallly as represented by religious institutions. What was for the rightwing libertarian “the state” was, for the leftwing libertarian, “social norms” or “the church.”

Attendant struck by a customer’s “thank you” — an especially nicely said one.

Attendant jolted by over-the-top politeness and gratitude of customer, which would have been more understandable if said sarcastically (Oh you’re being so helpful! as he pulled the spigot to fill her cup. Oh you’re being so helpful! as he rang up her order).

What did the attendant think about what the majority party had tried to pull and was in all the papers from yesterday, asked customer?

Customer was Ashely, Customer was Tracey, Customer was Adam. Customer said we needed pictures of all the regular customers right along here with their names.

Underqualified inexperienced attendant apologized to overexperienced overqualified attendant for so relying on him.

Pedestrian (seated on electric cart) has hand on chin thoughtfully just as I have had my hand on my chin thoughtfully (now he rolls on and I watch him rolling on)

Hooded figure entering, hood dappled with rain, face also glistening with moisture, goatee sodden also, streets behind him still awash, raises arms high above head with fists clenched–

familiar customer expressed view: Assad, Mubarak, Qadaffi, etc. should all have been left in power. [He excepted Hussein, who had antagonized other countries.] When Rwanda was brought up… yes intervention was necessary once certain thresholds have been reached (light to medium Czech accent here, A recent father.)

Was there an amheric word for ‘stress’? Perhaps there wasn’t stress in the Horn of Africa, in an everyday sense, as there was in The United States, in most cases, had said the customer; however, we talk about materials as being stressed and under stress, and we use that same word for states of how people are.

English has two liquid consonants, r and l, thinks attendant, and that’s why, when I’m pressed to name this person I know suddenly, I’m not sure if it’s Catherine or Cathleen, though of course I know it’s Cathleen in this case.

Interesting case of reporter who didn’t want to do anything illegal to get a story. “But it’s a common practice,” his editors and his union both told him,” everyone does it, so come on, do your job!” But still he had refused… His principles and his concerns for his personal well being –as well as his concerns for the people he dealt with– all argued the same cause: “one ought not break the law just to get a story.”  (If memory serves he wouldn’t use leaked information…?)

Attendant told he had pole up his ass, doesn’t happen everyday, maybe a good thing for him to hear. Maybe something he should hear everyday. Customer wanted to show attendant video of Eritrean shore line, the “resources of the red sea”. Customer showed attendant cat video: pole dancing cat. Customer described humorous plot of Graham Green’s Our Man in Havannah. Customer thought Conrad’s Secret Sharer  extremely interesting. Customer ordered Large iced black tea and everything bagel with cream cheese. Read book in back.

Customer ordered medium tea but no bagel today — had an understanding with his roaches, he said. (“I live at The B–,” he said, “so of course there are lot of roaches. But they do their thing and I do mine…. So long as they keep to their area.”)

Customer ordered hot chicken sandwich no red onions.

Electrician came in: changing the voltage of a something so that the new (used) ice machine would work.

Q: was there any correspondence or correlation between the philosophical question “what is reality?” and the everyday imperative or exhortation to “get real?”

A:  Yes, there was an opposite or inverse correlation. For implicit in the philosophical question, what is reality, was the idea that we don’t know what reality is, but only think we do; while implicit in the everyday imperative to “get real” was the idea that of course we do know what reality is, but simply refuse to see it or face it.

(When we are told to “get real” we are being told to stop fooling ourselves, see the obvious. When we ask “what is reality”, we are told to stop fooling ourselves, distrust the obvious.)

Not able to understand what I’m hearing because I’m concentrating: just as I ask the customer whether he’d like medium or dark roast, I’m trying to understand if I’m holding $17.36 or $18.36 in my hand, and though I have heard the sounds he has made, I can’t tell if those sounds mean “medium” or “dark”.

Customer insisted low or no-growth “steady state” economies were the only way forward, because standard GDP-based benchmarks for growth didn’t include true costs of ecological damage.

Customer ordered cinnamon bagel with cream cheese and small dark roast in mug for here.

Customer’s devotion to his college (Knox College), from which he’d graduated 60 years ago, inspired attendant to make semi-regular contributions to his own alma mater. (The Idea with which the old customer had “endowed” the attendant: that institutions were important, individuals were not important.)

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