The Price of Cream Cheese

Funerals are a sad but necessary thing. Strangly they are a reason to put on the good clothes and wash the nice car. We left early as we had other commitments earlier that day. We were all dressed up with time to fritter and waste. Unlike some funerals it was a beautiful day. As we serenely traveled the highway we passed a sign I had been passing for a lifetime. It was for the bridge of flowers.

We discovered an old abandoned trolly bridge that had been planted with flowers by the local garden club. It was beautiful! So many wonderful blooms. Many of the flowers had enticing fragrances. It was obvious that the bridge of flowers was carefully tended. We, as many do took pictures. Water slowly flowed under the bridge. We enjoyed our time on the bridge. As we we were approaching midday we thought a bit to eat might be appropriate.

We found a small romantic Cafe nearby. There were four people inside. Two baristas and three customers. With tin ceilings and retro decorations I kind of liked the place. A well dressed middle aged woman was typing on her laptop on one of two tables by the window. An older gentleman was near the bar with some food and a paper. A young man was ordering a latte and politely arguing with the baristas over the price of a bagle. Fresh and handmade, the bagle was five dollars. After seeing that we were politely waiting the young man settled on his latte.

Whilst waiting we had read the menu. It wasn’t very long, and the first thing looked good. Harty fare. My wife also made her selection. We quickly decided and made our order. Maybe because we were used to fast food, we did not engage engage the baristas in extensive conversation about the menu selections. Because the food is what they did, we assumed it would be good.

Fortunately the second table by the window was still available. The young man with the latte had chosen a table near the baristas so he could converse about the possibility of enjoying a bagle. We seated ourselves by the window to wait for our food. It was a pleasant brick lined street with construction going on outside. There was lots to watch. There were beautiful buildings made of stone across the way. Interesting people walked by.

In the background the young man still desired the bagle. The barista held firm on his price. Surprisingly the cream cheese was an additional eighty cents. The young man then argued that the condiments should be free. French fries come with free ketchup he noted. The barista held fourth that cream cheese was not a condiment. Additionally they used only the finest and most worthy cream cheese in his establishment.

The conversation distracted me from the view of the activity on the street outside. I began to wonder what was the difference between a barista and a barrister. The conversation had taken the cost of a bagle with cream cheese to an obsessive level. I imagined the young man as a future barrister trying to make his case. He was going at the cost of a bagle with so many angles. The barista held firm on the worth of his fine bagles, and the services he provided.

Our food was ready, indeed it was good and tasty. Worth the price. We slowly enjoyed our meal, we had time to kill. Meanwhile the young man had informed the barista the he was soon to be a graduate student in political science and needed to save money. He was willing to pay the five dollars for the bagle, however he thought the cream cheese should be free.

I am not a conversationalist, I prefer the window seat. I am not saying conversationalism is bad, yet we showed up ordered our food and enjoyed the ambiance. Then we enjoyed our meal and the view. Meanwhile the young political science graduate student kept the barista entertained during an otherwise slow time. For an hour he talked about his desire for a bagle and cream cheese. When we left he was taking his first bite of a bagle with eighty cent cream cheese.

Refreshed we arrived at the funeral with time to spare. A reverend said a few appropriate words. We talked with family about memories and times past. When it was all was said and done we laid flowers upon the graves of the departed.


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