|AIR DATE 2011.08.21|
|Location:||The Gilded Bean|
|Synopsis: A person who hears things meets a person who sees things, and what do they talk about? Underclothes and stiff upper lips, mostly.|
|RADIO FREE SILVER LAKE|
Late evening, and the rush is on. Despite being situated in a somewhat obscure locale, The Gilded Bean is hopping with a funky-fresh crowd floating in and out to pick up iced coffees and back-issues of ratty magazines to read out on the patio. There's a nice breeze out there usually, a lot more space, and a little less of the shop's highly variable (and occasionally obscure!) music selections.
A group of three baristas are handling the orders for the mob though, which explains the long wait. There's no dress code, and the only way to identify them is the fact that 1) they're behind the counter and making the drinks and 2) they're wearing aprons which are //totally/ not like Starbucks. Nope, not a bit, not even that logo on the front that has the 'Starbucks' label crossed out in black marker.
And certainly not the hazy-brained guy at the front of the line, rubbing at one eye as he squints at the menu with the other, deciding on the go-to Kenyan standard mix. "Oh, and are you still serving breakfast today? Yeah, I know" - Simon gestures to the clock mounted up on the wall - "but I just got up, and the only IHOP around here never has any parking. And don't get me started on Waffle House." Never hurts to ask.
"Well, uh, we stopped officially serving breakfast at…" the brown-haired chick wearing too-big horn-rimmed glasses behind the counter begins to reply. She holds up a bare arm, which is clearly devoid of a watch, and stares intently, nodding, pushing a finger against her chin. "Yep…that's what I thought. We havent had any fresh breakfast food in about 9 hours, guy. But…whatever. It takes like just a few minutes to toast a bagel or whatever." With a little bounce on her toes, she hops back to right behind the register, ready to punch in the order.
It's enough to draw a little smile out of Simon. "I'll take two. And whatever you've got left that you can spread with a knife." The glasses are a cute look, too, but hardly unique; they're probably a dime a dozen at the local thrift store for anyone whose sense of irony runs in that vein. Setting down a wad of bills, he settles down at the counter, glancing up at a radio in the corner. —role did Ability Positives play in the Libyan uprising? We'll have more after this commercial break.
The radio is tuned to the evening news report, made acessible and not immediately suicide-inducing thanks to the mellow voices and oh-so-cute accents of the BBC. Weirdly - or maybe not - the girl at the register doesn't seem brought down by any of the bad political or economic news; quite the opposite however, as she appears to be grooving to some song in her head. There's no iPod or anything on display though. "You look like a guy who knows his schmear, man. I'll check out what's left in the cold box, no extra charge or nothing!" The order for two bagels /and/ a large regular coffee are punched in and rung up and she's taking money and making change…all with her tongue sticking out of the corner of her mouth ever-so-slightly while she counts out accurate change.
The barista's antics escape Simon's conscious notice; he's paying attention to the news story as it comes back on, but not letting it bother him, either. Yet. Now if they start hauling in people off the street to start yelling about 'them freaks!' - and they do, sometimes - that'll be a different story.
Before they can get that far, his phone goes off, interrupting his attempt to grab a couple Half-and-Halfs in anticipation. "Yes? —Not for another hour. —Oh, hell. No, thirty on a good traffic day, but this won't be, will it? I'll be there for round two, promise."
When his cell phone goes off right there at the counter, there's a very pronounced reaction from said barista. A wince, and pinching shut of her eyes, a step backwards and then she recovers. "Sheesh, jeeze! Always with the cell phones! Didn't even see that one coming!" It's a perfect opportunity for her to disappear into the back and check to get the bagels and stuff though, leaving anyone to stew about how one can see a telephone call coming, or why it spooked her so much.
Again, the odd behavior is subconsciously filed away for later… but then the phone call winds up pretty quickly, and suddenly 'later' is right now. The dancing around without headphones, again, not so unusual. The reaction to the call… "Sorry, did I leave the volume turned up again?" he asks as she reappears, throwing out the obvious alternate explanation to see whether she goes for it. Obvious, that is, except that it wasn't turned up and he (at least) knows it.
"What, you mean the ring?" she replies upon her return, now equipped with bagel and cream cheese awesomeness. "Well, it wasn't really loud, if that's what you mean. But, I wasn't talking about the ring, so no problem there." Chat and slice - she manages to make it look like an extreme sport where danger and death are always right there, or at least, the potential to lose a finger - and then she sets the bagels on the pass-through toaster over.
Simon fishes out another couple of bills, setting them down next to the others, as he waits for her to finish up. "Oh, so the other thing, then," he replies, keeping his voice low and his tone casual. He'd just as soon not have anyone else catch on, not in a crowd of random strangers. "I know the feeling— by the way, you should have a word with your busboy, he's putting dirty mugs back on the stack." A wave of his hand serves to indicate the - opaque - wall behind her.
"Wait…what?" Predictably, she spins her head around with a flip of hair, and looks at the wall. Then at Simon. Then back at the wall. Then she lifts the glasses up and down and up and down. Then at Simon. "You mean you saw through that?" While she wrangles up more cash, making more change, and sliding into some plastic gloves to plate up the bagels and the schmear, she just shakes her head. "I guess it takes all kinds huh?" Concordia offers to Simon, while handing him the not-so-balanced breakfast.
He doesn't directly admit to it, but neither does he deny it, either. Seems like she catches on quick, too. "Trouble is, everything has its down side. There are people out there, if they could do that, they'd just use it to look through your top." Another glance up at the radio, and Simon shakes his head. "It's people like that who give decent people a bad name, you know?"
Now enlightened to that possibility, Concordia gives a huff and covers herself with arms and hands…as if that's going to do any good! "Stop staring!" she does squeak out. As for the radio, she admits she wasn't paying much attention. "They always put the news on in the evenings, for the business people to listen to. I wasn't really paying much attention. Too depressing for me!" Still, she holds her arms over her chest and acts like that's going to do her a lot of good in case Simon's one of those people.
With a hollow laugh, Simon shakes his head. "Hey, if I was gonna do it, would I tell you about it?" Maybe he should suggest that she turn her back instead. "And at least this one is just the news… they had one on the other day that was all rabble-rousing and 'them folks ain't natural', but it was a different station. At least I think it was."
"You know those Brits…all tea and scones and 'cheerio' and 'pip-pip' and Big Ben and stuff. They're kind of stuffy. Can they even rabble-rouse over there?" Concordia shrugs. "I really don't know, but I don't think I've ever heard it. I mean, there was this clip on the BBC of them doing their parliament thing, and man, those old guys got to arguing and I have no idea how they ever get anything done. It's like the X-Games compared to C-SPAN, for real," she adds, nodding solemnly.
"What? No, if those guys are the only ones you're watching" - listening to, whatever - "well, imagine if you lived someplace else, and C-SPAN was the only American show you ever watched? You'd think we were a bunch of stuffed shirts, too. There's British gangsters too, they just don't sound like they do in Compton is all." Or maybe they do, after listening to a couple decades of imported gangsta rap. Not like Simon is speaking from personal experience or anything.
"Oh, I've seen some British comedies too. They're a little dry for my sense of humor! PBS broadcasts them, late at night most nights and I sometimes catch them. Not often, but if I need something to go to sleep. Problem is, then I wake up to whatever world news show they put on PBS!" So either she fails at using the sleep timer feature on her television, or something wonky's going on.
"It could be worse," Simon answers, "you could wake up to PBS begging for more money so they can keep making the world news shows." That one he has seen, once or twice. He chips in his bit, leave him alone about it already! "So what's your usual?" he asks, after another glance up at the clock. He's got a little time left to kill, yet, but only so much.
"Oh, usually get the cinnamon roll beans with the French vanilla creamer. It's like having a family holiday right on my tastebuds!" Clearly, she took a liberal interpretation of 'the usual,' working in a coffee shop and all. "We don't always have that flavor though, but a few small markets around here carry the roasted whole beans. Ground fresh, and fair-trade approved! Grown from only the finest plants, and custom-roasted to perfection!"
Intended direction or no, it's enough to renew Simon's interest. "They got cinnamon-flavored coffee beans now? Hell, I gotta try that one. You get the same thing all the time, eventually you stop feeling it so much." He may or may not go so far as to make a special shopping trip in pursuit of them. "I meant the TV, though— what's worth waking up for?"
"There's a whole bunch of trashy talk shows that come on right about the time I wake up most days. Oooooh, or cartoons too. Sometimes I wake up to those just for fun! Sometimes I even get up early enough for the regular news. Most days I just wake up to the radio though." Then she huffs and crosses her arms again, and looks cross too. "And other days, the jerk downstairs takes phone calls at the frickin' buttcrack of dawn and I wake up to that."
A sympathetic wince. "Yeah, people who call before sunrise are jackasses, too. Unless it's an emergency or something." It'd just figure if it turned out Simon was the jerk downstairs, he's gotten a few emergency calls himself at that hour. "If I were you - seriously, you can't turn it off? - I'd think about putting in some lead or tinfoil or something, try to damp it out at least."
That evokes a genuine little chuckle and a playful tap on his shoulder from Concordia. "I was the kid who wore the tinfoil hat until like…first grade or something! Plus? I'd rather just deal than get lead poisoning. That stuff causes birth defects and a lot of other bad things. In fact, the California Department of Public Health offers free home paint testing, and requires it in all homes older than…I dunno, I think it said 1960 or something like that." She gives a shrug, and looks like she's dealing. "It also offers counseling and support and stuff, at those clinics."
"Well, that's when it's in the paint, and it chips off and gets in the air. Like with asbestos. I don't think a solid sheet--" But now Simon's just arguing for the sake of arguing, and leaves off once he notices it. "Yeah, I've heard about those— dunno if they're any good, but good to know, I guess. You been by, yourself?"
"Twice a week, once for individual session, once for group session. Bright and early, usually. Makes it easy that I, you know, work at a coffee shop. The others appreciate it too!" She leans in close and gives a little elbow nudge. "Hint, we sell to-go containers and do mini catered events, with bagel boxes, fancy-schmancy cookies and cakes, and the whole deal. Just like Starbucks…except, you know, not."
Simon lowers his eyes, as if in a conspiratorial nod. "Most of my colleagues are coming in from further west. But sometimes they do make it out this way, I'll keep it in mind— one of 'em will run you right out of pastry if you let him." Big on other people's health; not so worried about his own, not at his age. "Speaking of, I gotta get on the road here in a minute. Same time tomorrow?"
"Gotta pay the rent somehow, and I'm not good at a lot of things. I can, however, slice a mean bagel and brew up some pretty good pre-packaged and trademarked coffee beans, that's for sure!" It's not a franchise, but all these places have to buy from the same distributors, right? "Get in a little earlier and it might not be the depressing news. And I swear, sometimes we actually have the current newspaper. Some dillweed probably stole it by now."