Customer would say ‘who else’ where you’d expect him to say ‘what else’, as in: “In my tomato sauce last night I put three cloves of garlic, oregano, dried parsley, and… who else?” (Oh, half a red onion, was who.) Fishing in deep pockets for change, customer’s left shoulder dipped way down, then right shoulder did. Customer tried to separate two stuck coffee cup lids without getting hands all over them. Customer’s thirst was such that, in the short interval between paying for her drink and receiving her change she had opened her beverage and taken a drink. Customer issued stern warning to any who would listen: don’t drive a cab. Customer’s professor had been bad alcoholic but knew paleologic record backwards and forwards. Was known for it. Attendant wrote note to boss: “problem with upstairs toilet. Isn’t filling.” Attendant wrote note to boss: “problem with toilet downstairs. When you lift the handle it knocks out a hose.” Customer asked was there a key to the bathroom. Customer said she was off for the day, would be spending it with her kids by pool. Attendant claimed that was not technically a couch in the back but a sofa. Customer asked, was air-conditioner struggling again. Customer asked for knife for brownie. Customer said stale brownies were cookies. Idea of congressional or senatorial candidate, from opposite parties, but with an aligned agenda, running as a pair, expressed. Customer was Korean, married Japanese woman. Customer was member of The Vineyard; soon to be married and move. “Attendant, with a waxing effluent unguent of exertion, retired to betowel himself, and so to grow dry and not grungy.” Attendant said word ‘muffin’ had entered English language as ‘moofin’ and ‘hurricane’ as ‘furricane.’ Also, that the plural of shoe had been shoon. The greatest evil that came from extreme pleasures and pains, said Socrates in The Phaedo, was that they persuade you that the body and the bodily was more real than the soul and the soul’s concerns. Customer was happy: her first choice school, which had put her on a waiting list, had now accepted her. (She’d already paid a non-refundable 100 dollars to another institution, but that was now completely okay.)

Question was: if humanity could satisfy all its energy needs from wind power alone, would that change in a problematic way the energy content of the atmosphere? Would that have an pronounced effect on global air currents? Customer: didn’t think so. (Just fossil fuels were the problem.) Label of customer’s jeans seen in angle between seat back and seat cushion. Question was: “What do you say to those who criticize abstract expressionism, and the like, or modern art in general, as something any child could do?” “I would say they look on art as children, don’t they,” replied the customer. “They’re the children, I would say, if they can’t see what’s gone into it.” Vasculature: attendant read the word vasculature and knew at once, without looking it up, that it was an extremely important word to have available when he found himself looking at his hands. Attendant walking to work, beautiful morning, aspired to be a “poet of the morning.” Attendant, half-dead with boredom, tried, failed, tried, succeeded, to compel himself, to urge himself, to clean something, to do anything. Customer asked if attendant had seen the three secret service and police cars across the street at Starbucks –who was it? Attendant, “half-asleep with boredom”, lethargically pushed around broom. “The horns and the flute, my spray bottle and rag, their descending harmony upon a stain, a dissonance resolved,” he wrote. With a broad swipe intended to brush many crumbs off the counter, a single crumb fell into the attendant’s opened palm. Customer said a Ukrainian could look you in the eye and tell instantly whether or not you’re Ukrainian. Ukraine was larger than France, he added. Attendant said he had been looking up those old Greek terms for rhetorical figures that morning: anadiplosis, which was when the first word of a phrase or sentence repeated the last word of the preceding phrase or sentence. Awesome that these things had been so well studied and categorized (and like a couple thousand years ago.)


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