‘Have you come far?’
The question came from a man standing behind me in the queue.
‘Ignore him,’ the woman behind the counter told me.
‘Give me a latte with four shots,’ he told her, grinning at me.
She frowned, ‘What will you have?’
‘Serve him first,’ I said, ‘I’m in no rush.’
‘He came off shift about ten minutes ago,’ she explained, ‘and now he’s back for free coffee.’
‘I get free coffee,’ he admitted.
‘Serve the man,’ I said, ‘He looks tired. Just worked a full shift.’
He grinned at me, sleepy-eyed, nodded confirmation. ‘You come far?’ he repeated.
‘Just came over from the coast to pick up a friend,’ I said.
‘Is it nice on the coast?’ he asked, watching the girl pour a quadruple-power latte into a mug the size of a bucket.
‘Yes.’ I said, ‘It’s wonderful,’ stepping aside to let him pick up his giant coffee mug.
The café at the airport where I met Lishman is staffed by Poles; at least the two people behind the counter were Polish, and the tired off-duty guy who struck up a conversation with me was Polish too. I can’t speak about other times of the day or night, but at almost midnight it was like mini-Cracow. I felt like a tourist. But they were friendly, garrulous, and seemed to enjoy being there. It made me enjoy being there too. There was some sort of social thing going on.
I always enjoy cafés.
I enjoy waiting in cafés; I can happily wait for hours, spend the whole evening. Drinking coffee in an airport in the middle of the night is a wonderful thing. Airports are the most peaceful places on earth. I’ll collect anyone from an airport, no matter how early or late; I don’t mind if they’re late, or even if they don’t arrive – I’ll just sit and read, jot down notes, drink coffee, watch people.
Anyhow, Jay Lishman did arrive, coming over from Barce for a long weekend of planning for our online magazine, FrontLip, and we got a lot of done. We have the ideas and the contributors. It’s all about content now.