Your bagel is coming right up, he says. It’s summertime in the Bay, after the first year of my Master’s program, and I’m a visiting student at UC Berkeley for a “Women and Disability in Film and Stories” class. Here’s your tsea, he says. Voice soft and elegant, a soft ‘T’ sound, pronouncing his vowels and consonants with a light lisp, not so much a distracting lisp but a soothing lisp, a T that sounds like a tz, a ts, sliding off the tongue so crisp. Tea. Tzea. Earl grey. He’s going back to the counter to get my bagel. I ordered what I believe was an Everything bagel left in the little presentation box of pastries and whatnot. The only bagel left. What bagel do you think that is? I ask him back when I was ordering at the counter. You think it’s an Everything bagel? He leans over from the cash register and takes a peak. Well, he says in that elegant, crisp voice of his. It has poppy seed, some sesame seed, yes looks like an Everything bagel. Okay I’ll take it, I tell him. Half awake: my head swimming from not enough sleep, and I take whatever is in front of me. They said the soup for today is Split Pea. Split Pea is not really my kind of soup, but Chris Lewis would have it. Chris Lewis, my second high school sweetheart, a compassionate soul indeed. If he were here, he would get some of that soup, maybe. So I say no to the soup and I take the bagel because it is right there in front of me and I don’t have to think too hard about it. No thanks to the soup. I’ll have a bagel. Five dollar minimum for the credit or debit cards? My order is $4.35. Do I order something else so I can use my card or do I maybe have enough cash in my wallet? Oh there’s a five dollar bill in my wallet, here you go. Do you have Wi-Fi here? I ask him as he drops off my tzea. No, we have no Wi-Fi, but maybe you can connect to Air Bears. And he walks away to get my bagel. My signal to Air Bears, the UCB internet, is very low. Basically no connection. Some people have Internet wherever they go on their laptops. They’re fancy like that. I am connected everywhere I go! That’s what the chick at the table next to me is probably thinking. I have Internet at this Wi-Fi-less café, wow look at me! Fancy free! Internet, Internet, Internet. Why would I even want to connect to the Internet right now anyway? World Wide Web. I would probably check Facebook, read through my e-mails. You know, important stuff. Stuff that keeps me preoccupied so fucking much. Keeps me preoccupied? Keeps the World preoccupied! Millions of “professionals” make a living in the U.S. and around the world sitting on their asses all day long, checking e-mails. Check, check, checkity-check. Oh wow I finally sent off all those emails and even responded to the emails that I’ve been meaning to respond to for weeks. Boy I feel accomplished. Look at all those e-mails. Check check check. I better not delete any of them in case something extremely rare happens and I need the information from that one random e-mail. How should I sign my e-mails? Something simple yet unique. Unique! Sincerely, Brooke. That’s mine. Several people write: Best, Cranberry. Cranberry! Where did that come from? I’ve never met anyone named Cranberry before.
This bagel is pretty tasty. The tzea, I don’t know yet because I haven’t tried it. It’s probably still too hot for me. My tongue, it gets burned by this scalding hot water. Tea water. So I try to be cautious because a burnt tongue means burnt taste buds and tender pained tongue muscles. It heals quickly, I know, but I still don’t like burning my tongue. Okay I just tried the tea, the tzea, and it’s perfect temperature. And it’s delicious. Earl grey. Mmm. I just took another drink of the perfectly temperatured delicious Earl grey tea and I held my pinky finger out while I sipped. I’m so refined. It happened naturally, so I didn’t try to restrain it. Pinky out, sip the tea, I’m a natural socialite. I should have tzea parties with Everything bagels with tsea water at just the right temperature and everyone will be happy that their host made sure not to burn them with scalding hot tea, tzea, water. And everyone can bring their laptops or iPhones or iPads or Blackberries and we can all sit around together drinking tea and eating bagels and checking our e-mails. I might even poke someone on Facebook when s/he is sitting right next to me in real life. Now wouldn’t that just be super silly of me. Get it? I poke her/him on the World Wide Web when I could just talk to her/him in person! Oh, the hilarity ensues. Before I know it Cranberry over there is going to write on my Wall when I am sitting right across the room from her. She is going to say, my Brooke this tzea is divine! Then I will most likely “like” her comment, and then comment on her comment with an emoticon smiley face. But then Cranberry will look up from her iPad and see that I’m not actually smiling in real life. Then she might tag me as an untrustworthy narrator. Or a flat-out liar. So when she sees that I’m not actually smiling in real life, I will comment again on her comment after my initial comment with a “JK” so as to redeem myself from being a Facebook liar. JK I’m not really smiling Facebook friend! Facebook friend, I am not really smiling.