I am at the Pancake House this morning, full with a nice plate of corned beef hash and poached eggs, although I could whine a bit that the hash was mushy. The clientele here is distinctly different than the Starbucks just a few feet away. Here, it seems to be regular families and couples, rather than lovely people scurrying off to work with a five dollar coffee and a pumpkin loaf. Folks are here to talk, and not rush through their meal.

There is a father and son sitting nearby, obvious to me anyway that they are so related. Both are tall and thin, nicely dressed, with the same face and body with the strawberry blond hair of the son turned to silver in the dad. They sit very straight and upright, mirroring each other with their upper bodies. They look like a set of bookends, with one slightly more worn than the other. I wonder if the son looks at his father sometimes and observes as I do: “In 35 years, this is me.” He might find great comfort in that, or, great horror. Son probably is just thinking about his Swedish pancakes with lingonberries right at this minute. He finishes his food well before his father, who is eating precisely and slowly, and leans forward to talk. He has a lot to say to his old man this morning, and Pops is quietly attentive. This seems positive to me.

There is a long table to the side of me filled with about 10 high school kids. They are completely unobnoxious, which tells me that they get good grades, never smoked, will get into their 2nd colleges of choice, and will generally do well in the world. They have a thin sheen of nerd to them, like they might belong to Future Business Leaders Club or something like that, but they are not screeching and swearing and tipping their chairs so I am good with that here. Other places, I like to hear the screech and swear, and hope for the crashing tippage of chairs. This place is just too sweet and old-fashioned for that. I imagine they all will carpool back to school after their breakfast together, will be on time for their classes, and my kid will roll his eyes at them.

Ugh. I ate too much. The portions are huge here.

I like pancakes pretty much. I never make them at home because it is too messy and time-consuming and we seem to always be in such a rush. So for twelve bucks I get my hash and eggs and three pancakes made for me. I wonder if the people who work here hate the smell of breakfast now. They probably like to sniff diesel fumes just to get the odor of omelets out of their sinuses. Do you always end up hating the thing you are close to? If you have the most awesome job ever, like training monkeys to be on a VH1 reality series, do you end up just hating monkeys and television? Not that anyone should like monkeys and television to begin with. Good god.

I am the only person here eating solo. The only person sitting with a laptop. The only person with red extensions in her hair. I think one of the fry cooks in the back might be thinking about monkeys and television, though.

I should probably go now and free up this booth. I see a mother and daughter coming in who need it more than me.