The weird dream held the promise of an entertaining blog. My employer – I think I was a detective at my current department – was holding a “flash fiction” contest. That is, a writer had five minutes to write...anything. I was, of course, the subject of some good-natured banter about delivering the goods since I am, you know, published. In the early morning moments of awareness I'd gotten a good start, something about camping with my family when I was young. I walked into a Panera Bread in Penfield, NY, the paragraphs forming in my mind as I bought coffee for my mom and I. My writing didn't survive first contact with the staff.
I was alone on the customer side of the register. The young woman on the “them” side looked blankly at me and then resumed a conversation with a coworker. The coworker, a tiny and cute twenty year old, announced that she was going to drive up to Watertown, a small city on the east end of Lake Ontario. In the summer it is picturesque, in a sort of old world brick and timber way. During winter (approximately...now through April) cold winds blow giant sheets of misery over the region. The weather is euphemistically called "Lake effect." Not for nothing is the Tenth Mountain Division stationed nearby. My suggestion about making the trek before fall fell on deaf ears.
Their conversation turned to a Facebook picture of a mutual friend of theirs who wears his hair especially long. The woman waiting on me said “My ex had long hair and I made him cut it. Some guys look good with it but he didn't.” “It’s more the look that I like” Perky Twenty replied. “Not necessarily the guy.” They made no comment about my earring.
Behind me, a businessman ordered coffee. Did he want a tray? Did he have a Panera card? Here or to go?
John Pinette had it right. The Panera in Penfield can’t be the first place I go for coffee. Way too much going on.