Saturday, March 01, 2008

Liveblogging Panera - Saturday morning

The fire is crackling. The pastries smell good. And, despite the sunny skies, Panera's got some customers appreciating the great indoors today. Who are they?

- Three older gentlemen hold court. In Bulgaria, they'd be in a park, playing chess surrounded by spectators and stray dogs. Here they're sipping coffee discussing foreign affairs and religion.

- A toddler gnaws on a bagel as large as his head, holding court over his sippie cups

- A student lounges in the Corner o' the Leather Chairs, where it is perfectly acceptable to put one's feet up

- Two impeccably maintained women in running gear discuss college admissions with great authority. Something about Harvard, Georgetown as the safety, no patience for waiting and a drug-resistant allergy to third-tier schools.

- Construction workers set their hardhats by the fireplace to read over the morning news.

- A stylish older woman in a chocolate cloche hat, maybe five feet tall and ninety pounds, balances a tea with an elegantly weathered handbag. She's dining alone but carries the air of a woman who's lived enough adventures for all of us in the bakery.

Bagel kid coughs. A surge of customers swarm the counter as the construction workers return to the Whole Foods site, making it one step closer to completion and olive-bar goodness.

"It's made of the ricin!*" one of the Table of Older Guys proclaims to his growing number of companions (which leads me to want to quit typing and start eavesdropping with greater concentration).

Just another morning at Panera.

* Note: Not the bagels


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