How do you measure your universe?

a piece of baklava
Fraught with pistachios.

We went to a sushi place to celebrate our anniversary. The man at one end of the sushi bar spilled his first bottle of beer. Then he spilled his soup. He was a regular so it was okay. The couple on the other side of us were regulars, too. They had jokes with the sushi chef about how the woman liked everything burning hot and the man didn’t. Also about some other regular they all know, who can’t come in because apparently he’s given birth to four kids in three years. We tried not to listen but also we didn’t want to be unfriendly. We compromised with vacant smiles and spoke our real conversation in undertones.

Then we wanted ice cream and stopped at a Baskin Robbins, but it was next door to a baklava shop, and the shop owner was sitting outside waiting for customers. He said hi, and we went in there instead. He described the contents of every tray of baklava. He said they use sugar and water instead of honey. This makes the baklava weigh less so you get more for a pound. He said this as a selling point. Also, you get a free beverage of any kind from the cooler. A premium beverage — Tropicana, Naked, Red Bull. When we made our purchase, he urged us to take a bottle, any bottle. It made me uncomfortable, just taking one, and I shook my head.

“They’re not expired,” he said, offended. “Everyone thinks they’re expired, but they’re not. It’s just something I do to bring the customers back.”

Dave took a water, even though he is philosophically against bottled water. It was the cheapest thing. The man added, “And if you can give me a review on Yelp it would be great. Please come back, okay?” Oh world, I can’t hold you up all by myself.

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