Two-and-a-half years at this job, at a relatively small mall, with all of its offices on the same mazelike third floor, I’ve managed to make a couple of friends.
One of them, Albert, works down the hall leasing cars. The other, Anne, is the Executive Director at another another charity, raising funds for a rival Israel university. We don’t do it often, but sometimes we stand in the hall chatting about this and that. The latter is a great talker, and I know that if I should ever stop to talk to her, it’ll peel off a significant chunk of time from my boring nothing-to-do daily schedule.
The mall has a very busy pediatric clinic, and one of the joys of working here is seeing, on an hourly basis, a stream of parents walking slowly with their kiddies or pushing strollers. The kids are cute, the languages spoken are quite varied, and it gives the mall a nice, soft vibe.
This morning, a few of us congregated around the Cambodian-run restaurant which is the most popular among the mall restos. There are also two ex-Israeli-run places, a strictly kosher place and downstairs, a café/sandwich spot, Café Presse.
I ordered an espresso allongé while my friend Albert had his coffee handed over to him without him even asking for it.
“How many coffees do you have a day?” I asked.
“Five,” he answered, somewhat embarrassed.
“Me, too,” said a girl standing there receiving her large coffee.
“I only have caffeine before noon,” I pronounced, and then added a bit self-righteously, considering the fact that I’m not a heavy coffee drinker although my two comrades were, “I know someone who got pancreatic cancer and he drank coffee all the time.”
“No!” exclaimed Albert.
“He was addicted,” I stated seriously, hoping to scare him into a better coffee-drinking habit.
I was talking about our charity’s last President, a philanthropist and great guy, who died last August. He could never refuse a cup of coffee (or three) no matter what the time.
Albert’s a good guy and a fellow gym member. I don’t know if I’ve scared him into drinking less coffee every day. I doubt it though I hope so.