The bustle of customers, their para llevar beverages in hand, makes it hard to hear. Most tables are taken up by solitary individuals peering into their laptop screens. In the background, looking through the plate glass window facing the larger street, the rain-washed pavement gleams momentarily with the low-angled light of the late winter afternoon sun. The buildings across the street pulse with a faded orange glow, then return to the damp gray they sported a minute before. The camera zooms in on a table shared by two patrons, a MAN and a WOMAN. The eyes of the MAN are downcast, his hand distractedly gripping the paper cup in which the remaining 2/3 of his latté have gone tepid. The WOMAN pushes down on the balls of her feet, rocking her chair ever so slightly backward. She is watching him.
WOMAN: What are you hiding from?WOMAN leans forward, putting her hands on the table in order to push off, the first stage in getting up out of her seat.
MAN: I'm hiding from the realization that there's so much to be hiding from.
WOMAN: (laughing through her teeth) That's a clever bit of indirection.
MAN: No, I was reading The Nation this morning--
WOMAN: (interrupting) How can you read The Nation and not think that?
MAN: The April 10th issue, that piece on the reconstruction of New Orleans by Mike Davis. Did you know he's writing a book about the city?
WOMAN: He would. What's his title this time, City of Sludge?
MAN: I know, I know. But he writes well. It's pretty convincing.
WOMAN: So you're telling me that you're hiding from the realization that there's so much to be hiding from as a way of hiding from the realization that you're hiding from me.
MAN: Did I miss something? Last time I checked we were sitting in the middle of a crowded Starbucks listening to the dulcet sounds of Sam Cooke.
WOMAN: Fuck you.
MAN: It's your call.
WOMAN: You know what I want.WOMAN settles back into her seat and turns her head toward the plate glass window.
MAN: A rock and roll band, passionate kisses, and all of that stuff.
WOMAN: It's raining again.Outside, a woman walking by the plate glass window stumbles and drops her oversized green golf umbrella. A bus covered in an ad for the latest action film rolls by heading the opposite direction. And, for just a second, a beam of sunlight plays across the buildings across the street, but not the street itself or the near sidewalk.