The coffee bar is in the Manhattan Mall, right near the entrance. it's nothing more than a short counter with 2-3 employees crowded on one side, pulling espressos and steaming milk, and usually 3-4 customers crowded on the opposite side, glumly staring at a display case filled with baked goods. The baked goods—a typical, repetitive assortment of muffins, croissants, and pre-sliced loaf cakes—all have that quality of having just been removed from cold storage. They're slightly wet, with surface tears and bits of adjacent pastry stuck to them from where they were mashed together in the slaveship-like conditions of their bakery distribution center shipping box.
This morning, a couple of men were having a loud, animated conversation on the customer side of the coffee bar. The head barista leaned into the counter and yelled, "Gentlemen, please have your loud conversation outside of my café." I admired her sense of social order, but there's actually no café to speak of. It's just a small island in the middle of a noisy, dirty shopping mall.
So the gentlemen were already outside of her café because the truth is everything is outside the café. Or everything is inside the café, depending on your point of view. And if that is her point of view, she must do a lot of yelling, all day long. "Hey, will you please stop pressing all the buttons for the elevator inside my café?" "Excuse me, but I'd appreciate it if you sold your Lids™ elsewhere. This is my café and I won't stand for it." "We've had this talk before, and this is the last time I'll tell you. Please do not set up your 40-foot Christmas tree with a guy dressed up like Santa Claus, posing for pictures with kids, IN MY CAFÉ. I can barely hear my milk frothing." Etc.
While waiting in line for coffee, I watched a flying insect land on a blueberry muffin. The bug danced around for a bit, dragging its poop-covered feet all around the muffin top, then flew away. Then, when it was my turn to order, I asked for a medium iced coffee and a blueberry muffin. This is the closest I've ever come to self-knowledge.