Monday, September 21, 2015

A blush, a typo, and a smile. It's everyday life!

The coffee shop had just about opened the doors when we walked in to get our morning elixir.  The young male barista, with a trim beard and a shirt that looked like it had been well ironed, took our orders with a smile.

"You look like a former student of mine" I told him.  "Are you related to Dustin, who is from here?"

"No.  Unless he was also a good looking guy like me" he laughed.

"Yes, he is.  And so are you" I told him.  The part of his face that was not covered with hair immediately revealed the faint red of self-consciousness.  He was familiar with the small talk at the counter, but was unprepared for a compliment that he was a good looking guy?

Later that afternoon, we stopped for brunch at a small town.  It was an eatery run by young people it seemed--two bearded young men were working in the open kitchen along with a heavily tattooed young woman.  Two young women waited at the tables.  The waitress at our table seemed to be new at the job.  The other one, who was a little older, pulled up a ladder and erased a black board that was high above the kitchen window.  She carefully chose from the bin that had colored chalk and started writing on the board.

Koren Braised Pork.

It made me curious.  Could it be that it was the chef's specialty, and the chef's name was Koren?  Was her name Koren?

She started writing underneath that line.  Kimchi.  And more.  

It was a simple spelling mistake!  

I wanted to tell her about the error.  But then, would pointing that out make me a condescending SOB?  With a face that doesn't convey the smile, would I be coming across as humorless ethnic?  Or, worse, would I end up reinforcing the stereotype of Indian-Americans as Spelling Bee champions?  Did any of the other patrons there notice it, or will any of the yet-to-arrive patrons care?  Am I becoming obsessive-compulsive?  

It stayed Koren.

Back on the terra firma of the familiar grocery store, I smiled at the clerk as she started scanning the purchases.  "Hey, I thought the cheese was $4.99, not $5.99 ... one dollar off" I told her.  She picked up the phone and requested a price-check.

"So ... as we are waiting for the price-check ..."

"... yes, let's talk about your weekend" she chimed in with a smile.  Her eyebrows seemed artificially jet-black and matched her hair.

"Now's your time for stand-up comedy.  Keep me entertained."

"I am funny.  But, this is pressure."  She didn't miss a beat.  "I think I am funny.  I don't care if others think otherwise" she added.

The intercom beeped.  I was correct.  She deleted that incorrect entry and added a new $4.99 line.

"Hey, if you make an error and ring up a wrong amount, then the rule is that I get that item for free" I suggested to her.

"You are funny.  Aren't you the stand-up comedian!"  She is funny.

4 comments:

Ramesh said...

Are all the men you meet bearded ???

Stay off the cheese young man. You have to live to 90 :)

Sriram Khé said...

Interestingly enough, the beard seems to be taking off, at least here in Oregon. Especially among the hipster crowd, yes. (Check this out: http://gu.com/p/4ctbx/stw)
I remember a student complaining that he so wished to grow a beard but he couldn't--the guy seemed like he didn't even had to buy a razor!

Anne in Salem said...

Such a fun day!

I know men who grow beards in the winter for extra warmth, especially for skiing. Most of them would laugh uproariously at the thought of being hipster!

Sriram Khé said...

Of course, Oregon with a hippie history has plenty of middle-age and older men with facial hair ... And then there is the no-shave-November deal ...
But, my comment about the bearded men was in the context of the young hipster crowd one can spot at coffee shops and the restaurants, and in my classes too.

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