Vanity Plates

“I’d like some black coffee,” said the woman. Her eyes squinted at my chest through rimless bifocals with thick, black, gold-trimmed earpieces. “Look at her name tag.” Rectangle-shaped earrings swung as she turned towards her friend. A geometric pattern woven into her sweater repeated her earring pattern.

“Oh. Dawn.” the other woman responded, with a tone that sank into the seats. Her wrists and neck were draped in gold chains, and her short-cropped gray curls harmonized with the purple rims of her glasses and bright peach cardigan.

“Well, my name certainly isn’t Pie Shoppe,” I quipped, hoping to lift the tone. My name tag indicated both my name and the name of my employer.

“Dawn is the name of my daughter-in-law,” she said with the same tone and shrugged. Then she suddenly laughed. “Her license plate says SUNRISE.”

“‘Sunrise’? ‘Dawn’ sounds so much prettier,” said Geometric Woman.

“I know. ‘Sunrise’ sounds so pretentious and clunky!” said Mother-in-Law. “There are so many DAWN plates out there it would’ve had to be DAWN469. She wanted the name, but no number. Obviously no one else was interested in SUNRISE.”

“I’ve always thought ‘Aurora’ was a pretty complement to my name,” I said.

“Aurora. That’s nice. I like that too,” said Mother-in-Law. “My son’s license plate says SPORTS NUT.” She rolled her eyes and laughed. “Don’t know why they spent that money. Why didn’t they go out to dinner instead?” We laughed with her.

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Senior Discount

She sat under a dome of snowy, perfectly coiffed hair staring at her credit card slip and bill.  A red jacket covering a sunny blouse looked pressed.  Her fingers, twisted and white, like exposed roots, held the pen poised in the air.  She maintained this pose for a while and I wasn’t sure if she was confused.  She had come alone, without the care of a nurse, which so many of the elderly customers at The Pie Shoppe had in attendance, so she must have been capable.

I passed her table and she looked up.  “Thank you for giving me the senior discount,” she said, her voice musical and soft.

She mistook me for her server.  I didn’t wait on her and her server was on break.  “You’re welcome,” I said.

“I take the senior discount so I can turn it around and add it to your tip. I want you to have it.”

“Oh! Thank you.  That’s very nice of you.  Not every one does that.”

“Well, it’s nice to be able to do it.” She placed the papers carefully into the bill book and handed it to me with eyes that sparkled under their rheumy glaze.