Over by the window a man describes the history of every dish on the menu to the woman across the table from him. While she’s not quite enraptured, she does seem mildly impressed.
We’re seated next to the fish tank. The fish — big Koi goldfish — are nipping at every available surface in their search for sustenance. They go for the aquarium walls, the shells and coral, and even chew on each other.
The pair at the other table are ordering. The waitress asks, “How spicy?”
The guy hesitates and explains, “I usually like it really spicy, but since we’re sharing and this is your first time, we might want to keep it down at two stars.”
A small group is seated at a table just behind me now. “We put out leaflets, and a couple of weeks later we have a mass march, but then what happens? How are things different?”
Back at the window: “The thing about Chicago is that it’s a hub.”
One of the fish is vacuuming rocks up off the aquarium floor.
The guy at the window table, one last time: “You mean you’ve never had a lost weekend?” It’s a first date, no question.