So I go to this cafe that shall remain unnamed basically every day for lunch. Given that I work in the area around Boston Common, sensible and sanitary meals are hard to come by, so my personal philosophy is: when you find a place, don’t let go.
This cafe screws up my order every single day. And I’m not talking about screwing up a nonfat caramel macchiato with brown sugar dabbed on the whip cream in healthy increments. No, I’m talking about such brainteasing orders as everything bagel with hummus, or side salad or glass of water.
Its floor design is abysmal; there are no walking lanes; if you’re carrying a hot plate: good luck. They usually burn espresso. If you complain, they are brutally nonchalant about it. Their Yelp page basically corroborates all of my experiences.
So, yesterday, thinking that I might have to find a new place to get my nom on every afternoon, I decided to order something new, that day’s soup du jour, Thai chicken curry. It wasn’t otherwordly, but my usually awful barista asked a very simple, very surprising question: Do you want croutons in your soup?
WHO EVEN KNEW THAT WAS A THING?
YES. YES. A THOUSAND TIMES YES.
Peter Orner’s Love and Shame and Love
In the creative writing department at my alma mater, Orner’s writing is required reading. Having read “The Raft” on multiple occasions in class, I picked up Esther Stories last year. It’s hard to pin down what’s so moving about his writing beyond the fact that Orner has a particular skill for deployment: his scenes are often brusque and short, but what’s contained in them is so essential (I’ve found this to be true in my foray into Love and Shame and Love). It’s unfair to call this approach minimalistic or drag Ray Carver into it. There’s just an immediacy to what’s on the page. It’s impossible to stop paying attention when what’s there so forcefully commands you to stay engrossed.
Love and Shame and Love is out Monday. Go get it.
(I’m not shilling; it’s very good.)