“Qweniqua, banana blend, extra cream.”

“Thank you.”

“You're welcome, and thank you.”

Assembly line food and friendliness.

“Trina, iced latte.”

A gray haired, portly gentleman nods hello, as I assume he is not Trina, not moving to pick up the beverage. An acknowledgment nod is appropriately returned.

“How are you this evening?”

“Good, and you?”


“Let's see, what are you waiting for?” The question asked when you have a gazer looking through you uncomfortably.


Finding a tea order on the board, I answer, “Coming up,” and put his order on rush.

“You like to read?” he politely asked, a stack of reading material under his arm.

“I find it necessary in my line of work,” I kindly reply.

“Making coffee?”

“I do not consider my line of work what I am paid to do. Just because this is where you find me does not mean that is how you should define me. ”

“Good one. Who ordered that?”

“Me. Here's your tea.”

“Thank you. Here,” he said, extending his hand holding a book toward me.

It is a thin book, almost pamphlet like. Philosophy, by one of the many philosophers I have never heard quoted.

“For me?”

“Yeah, I'm done with it. Read it 50 times, and at my age it's time to start unloading the stuff in life.”
“Thank you.”

“He quotes Voltaire on page 10. It is one of my favorites. Take a look. Read it to me one last time.”

Thumbing through the pages, I arrive at page 10. The last line on the page has a quote underlined, attributed to Voltaire, mine to read aloud. I preview it for appropriateness, then read: “We shall leave this world as foolish and as wicked as we found it when we arrived.”

“Isn't that beautiful?” the distinguished gentleman sighed, smiling.

“Sure, but the foolish and the wicked will not get through life uncontested...or unmolested.”

“Nor should they, and you will be contested and molested whether or not you are foolish or wicked.”

“It's all a game, isn't it?”

“Only when you are playing. Take care.”

I smiled, nodding appreciatively at the old man. “Thanks again,” I shouted as he crossed the threshold to exit.

“You're so cute. You and an old man are the only ones who don't do their reading on their phone or tablet or pad or computer or whatever. You still read the printed word...I don't know...printed,” Tina laughed, walking behind me.

“I like to touch what I read and would rather not need to depend on a device. These pages will be here after your device crashes or is upgraded, or whatever. But I read with devices also. My goal is information and knowledge, with a preference for printed format, but the words are what is important.”

“Even that's cute. Who really has time to read anyway?”

I tuck the booklet in my pocket and think of the quote, and must smile. Thanks for the fools, for they give us genius; thanks for the wicked, for they give us heroism; thanks for the chaos, for it makes life an adventure.