I was allowed to sit by the window today. It was early and the diner was relatively empty. There I was, looking at the Bus stop, and at the man in front of me in the other booth. Behind him was a mirror and in the mirror was an older version of myself, staring back at me with tired and sad eyes. I just got the usual, did not even have to order. The food just came. I waved to the owner. The friendly waitress had her second baby about 10 months ago. She showed off the pictures to this couple on Sunday. Now she was back on the early shift. The guy in front of me got really upset because she forgot his bacon. He then stared at it as if it were about to heal the world.
A family of four arrived and the father tried to explain to his boys how much he was a real New Yorker. They must have moved out of town when the kids were tiny. He used the word Schmier in every sentence now. I thought how I could schmier him one if he said it one more time, but I would never ever actually even think that.
“Schmier is Cream Cheese on a bagel. You do not order Cream cheese on a bagel, you get schmier. Like schmier, you know.” The boys just listened. They must have not looked as if they listened because he had to say it again and again. The friendly waitress came to take their order. The father ordered “scrambled eggs and home-fries, and instead of toast, a bagel with schmier.” He got it. I left soon after, but counted maybe 15 more schmiers before I paid. The man in front of me happily finished all of his bacon. The older myself in the mirror just left with me. We did not speak. We never do.