I was cold and hungry towards the end of the day. I'd gotten up at 5, was at work by 6, left early for an appointment and errands, and had a meeting at 7 pm, with an hour-long drive home afterwards. I stopped at a restaurant and waited a long time to be seated, though there were just two couples in a big empty room. I turned to leave, "Miss! A table?"
So I sat down. I waited again. I was chilled. The room was big and cold. I waited and thought about leaving again. There was another restaurant across the street.
A large man shuffled over. He was dressed all in black: T-shirt stained with food, pants with suspenders, and black socks and crocs.
"Water?" he asked.
"Yes, please. May I have hot water?"
"We don't have hot water."
"Do you have hot tea?"
"May I have hot tea without the tea?"
"I can't do that. It's not like we have big pots of hot water back there."
"I can bring you water without ice."
He brought me a tall glass of ice-cold water that I didn't drink. I thought about kitchens, pots, and the techniques required to heat water. I thought about birch bark containers sealed with sap, hot rocks, iron pots, hot springs, and acetylene torches.
Then I read my book. Dinner came and it was gross. Next time I'll listen to the absent diners.