(24 January 1961 / South Africa)

Coffee

The couple ordered flat whites in the café.
“I bet there’ll be spillage in the saucer”,
she said, watching waiters dash past the table.
“Well, there was a time, ” he said, “when pouring
hot coffee into your saucer was thought
quite acceptable. The tip, blow and sip method.”
“Really, ” she replied, “well, I like a dry saucer
and expect it, for four dollars and fifty cents! ”
A cappuccino whizzed past. “Half a cup of air, ”
she said dismissively, “coffee with bubblewrap.”
He smiled in reply. He really didn’t care.
Their waiter arrived promptly, saucers in hands.
His was set down first. A trickle of tan
slid down the outer white curve. “Waves, ” she exclaimed.
The waiter paused, second saucer in hand. “Ma’am? ”
Her smile was tight. “The forcing frequency of your gait
resonates with that of the liquid, causing waves.”
The waiter glanced at the gent, who smiled and shrugged.
“The solution, ” she said, “is to use a suspended tray.
A pendulum set-up would buffer…..”
At that precise moment, a bag-laden customer
brushed past, nudging the waiter’s arm and hand
which still held her saucer - white as white. The cup
was launched, flew briefly and dived into her lap.
She was stunned; momentarily nonplussed.
Hot but not too hot, she thought as liquid splashed.
Gasps from other tables; someone said “Awesome…..”
The gent patted the waiter on the back.
“Not to worry, ” he said, “I know for a fact,
she really didn’t want it in the saucer.”

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