Sunday, April 17, 2011

Cloud 9

Sharing a building with an urban karate dojo, a small, quaint shop has set up, since last year. The front is all glass, with a high grey McDonalds-style countertop braced to the window panes. The seats assigned to this countertop, so high my legs dangle a foot off the ground, are four in number, backless, white and chrome. Walking in, though, you first notice a sign saying “Start here” in sloping, curving letters. The poster is blue. The second thing you notice is that the shop is nestled in a giant, blue-tiled U-shaped wall that funnels everyone through its bow.

Upon inspection of the dispensers on the wall just past the sign, and the small mountain of large, bowlish cups, I felt for a second that this shop had stolen the Golden Corral’s yogurt machines. Upon pouring some of the chocolate yogurt, just one of ten or twelve flavors there, I notice a consistency in the yogurt that told of greater quality than the yogurt I used to want to go to Ryan’s solely to eat. After dumping half of the condiments available into the cup after the yogurt, paying for the yogurt, and having it skewered by a spoon, I notice the other half of the available delicacies. Cupcakes with the largest tops I have ever seen dotted the landscape behind a glass pane. The server, who, according to the receipt, was named Michael, told me about the cupcakes. He was loading twenty of them into a holder, “for the people who’re fixing my car. This is just a little thank-you”, he said. Touched by this, I went to sit down at the aforementioned counter-top.

Before I sat down, I noticed the lights. They hung from the ceiling, all white, layered like a tight Sydney Opera House, or one of those pink wildflowers, except white as anything. If ever I wanted to shoplift, I had the most incredible urge to. Those lights are maybe the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen.

As I ate, I noticed the bear I had left there, for donations to a cancer society. The bear was purchased at the Super Target just five hundred feet from the shop, the animal crackers inside eaten, the container washed out,  a hole cut in the top, and a sign asking for change taped to both sides. This bear was slowly being filled, and last I’ve seen of it, it’s eaten maybe a modest sum of kindness. I spoke to the bear and, as I ate the yogurt, he and I had had a very nice conversation. He had spent most of the day being watched by nearly everyone who frequented the place, weighing down several issues of Snap! Roswell, a couple of flyers, and, of course, the kindness inside. The bear and I moved onto other topics, and as I finished my yogurt, I asked if I could get m good friend, the bear, anything to eat. In polite response, he told me he helped me quite enough. What a bear.

I bid Michael adieu, leaving the shop in a great mood. As I went to my car, I turned to look at the name of the shop: Cloud 9. A vernacular used to relate moments of great elation joy, and peace. When you’ve reached the highpoint of your life, when you’ve just gotten married after winning the lottery, when you sink a hole in one for all eighteen rounds. When you get an A in every final, and get that scholarship that nobody ever gets. Then, you’re on Cloud 9. Purchasing a cup of yogurt and only paying six dollars gives you much the same elation, apparently.

Then I realized I forgot to get my punch card punched for that purchase. You owe me a punch, Mike. 

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