“Looks like somebody’s just about ready to have tea for two, or maybe tea for two hundred by the looks of it. I wasn’t planning on bringing a small army with me – was there something you hadn’t told me, Jean-Michel?” That was Kate, standing behind him.

A Fine Day for Tea
It was a good day for tea, the weather being not too warm, yet not unpleasant enough to cause one to wish to go indoors. It was what one might call mild, as in the way that Kate preferred her tea. Jean-Michel, on the other hand, preferred his tea steeped a little bit stronger, though nothing past four and a half minutes as that ventured into what he referred to as the “bitter zone”. He didn’t understand why some people chose to leave their leaves in the water for an indefinite period of time, and found it particularly laughable when people justified it by stating that they wanted more caffeine in their drink, when it was fairly well known that over ninety-nine percent of the caffeine was released into the tea within the first thirty seconds. Well, it was fairly well known to him, in any case. It was like when people couldn’t tell the difference between coffee made on a french press and instant coffee. Simply absurd, he thought. But then, there would inevitably be people who would think that his even putting that much thought into the people who couldn’t tell the difference between the two coffees made him a bit on the abnormal side, but he felt it better to be considered absurd and have decidedly good taste.

Kate’s remark was probably related to the sheer amount of tea accessories and other things that seemed completely irrelevant to tea. He wanted to be prepared, that was all. So they weren’t exactly going backpacking in the rainforest – did that mean that they couldn’t have the necessary items for a good cup of tea or two? Okay, six, but he really just wanted to be on the safe side. Some people really love tea.

By this point in time, Kate had put down her purse and sat down. “Two sugars, one soy milk please. You did bring soy milk, right?” She laughed. Given the number of small black pitchers, surely one of them had some soy milk. But then again, perhaps she was just teasing him a little bit. Not only did he take it well, he took out one of the small pitchers and handed it to her. “Soy milk.”

The two had only just begun drinking their tea when Jean-Michel heard a voice behind him saying, “Afternoon tea? What a perfectly peculiar thing to do!”

Sandy and Klaus
Klaus had packed a picnic basket with an assortment of treats, mostly tea related. This was to be a tea outing, and he felt he should do a proper tea outing if he were going to do one at all. He had agreed with Sandy that there were some tea essentials, and so they were all stowed away in his basket, along with some more tea biscuits that were imported from Israel. The weather had been rather gracious with them today, and it was just a matter of finding a good place to sit.

A good place to sit was perhaps delivered to them most humorously, when Klaus spotted Jean-Michel sitting with a woman he presumed to be Kate a little bit in the distance. Although Bryant Park does have a good capacity when it comes to seating people during the summer film series, it’s not entirely impossible to run into someone you know sitting at one of the many benches or tables. Klaus decided that he would have a little fun, and Sandy agreed it would be at least mildly humorous to surprise his friend. They came up from behind Jean-Michel and Klaus said, “Afternoon tea? What a perfectly peculiar thing to do!” Sandy had to laugh because it was something she liked to do on a regular basis. Some of her better friends wondered if there was tea running through her veins instead of blood.

“Klaus, I presume?”
“That would be an accurate presumption.”

Klaus and Sandy walked around the bench to face Jean-Michel and Kate. “What do you think is the likelihood that two couples would come to Bryant Park at any given time with the specific intent of having tea?” Sandy said. She wasn’t exactly shy, particularly in awkward circumstances like this where she was just meeting someone in a time when they might not have wanted to be interrupted. Nobody responded. “So,” she then said, “I’m Sandy.”

“Oh, sorry!” Jean-Michel suddenly said. “I’m Jean-Michel, and this is Kate. Kate, this is my best friend Klaus, and Sandy.” Sandy smiled. “You pick up names quickly!”

Perhaps sensing that he was interrupting something, Klaus said, “Well, we’re going to get a table. I can’t imagine fitting all these teacups on one park bench. It was nice meeting you, Kate.” They all shook hands in a rather comedic manner and Klaus and Sandy started walking away. “Give me a call later, Klaus!” Jean-Michel called after Klaus.

Things Not To Do In a Bookstore
Perusing through the Ayn Rand area in the fiction section at the bookstore, Felix picked up a copy of “Anthem” and felt a slight pain at the front of his head. Probably a caffeine headache. Caffeine headache, of course, because he hadn’t had any coffee or tea thusfar that day. Fortunately, there was a small cafe serving coffee, or at least beverages resembling coffee, for above average prices. Of course, Felix could have gone home to make himself some coffee but he didn’t want to spend the extra time on that. It was really a matter of opportunity cost.

The person at the bar looked a little lonely, probably because the cafe was empty and if he had to guess, nobody had ordered a drink in a little bit. Felix walked over to the counter and, looking right at the barista, asked, “Could you pour two shots of espresso onto a small pile of whipped cream?” The barista raised his left eyebrow a little bit, and then replied “Of course.” He then picked up a small paper cup and put half an inch of whipped cream on the bottom, following it up with two shots of espresso. After paying, Felix picked up the cup and thanked the barista. “I bet,” Felix said, “if your cafe were to have a print ad it would look something like this.”

Felix then held up the doppio con panna and smiled in a peculiarly cheerful manner. The barista laughed. As Felix took a small sip, a woman at a nearby table put down the book she was pretending to look at and walked over to Felix. She waited for him to put down the cup and then said, “Excuse me.”

“I’m sorry to bother you, but I saw what you did with that drink and I thought it was quite clever. I’m wondering if you’d considering interviewing for a position with the Tate and Bitter.” Felix’s mouth dropped open at this. A job interview? Could it be possible after all this time that there was a chance for him to leave the world of not being able to afford anything, and actually feel good about himself for reasons other than his few friends giving him select compliments on occasion?

“Of course. Would tomorrow be okay? Nine o’clock?” It was perfectly good, it turned out.