A pair of middle-aged women in nursing scrubs were in line for bagels in Shadyside this morning and one asked the man behind the counter, “How many salt do you have?”
“All these,” he said, pointing to the bin.
“I’ll take eight of those, and…” she turned to her friend. “What do you want?”
“I’ll take two egg.”
“And two egg,” the woman-who-ordered-salt said.
As the man behind the counter filled their order, the woman-who-ordered-egg said, “I don’t know how you can buy eight. I don’t know how you keep them fresh.”
“I just keep them in the bag,” the woman-who-ordered-salt said. “In the freezer.”
They moved down the line to the cash register. The woman-who-ordered-salt pulled out a credit card, but as she handed it to the man behind the counter the woman-who-ordered-egg pulled out a small wad of bills and said, “Oh no you don’t! I’m paying for this.” They wrangled, both extending their payment with one arm and attempting to block the other from paying with the other arm. “Take it! Quick!” the woman-who-ordered-salt told the man behind the counter, holding out her card like a sprinter leaning into a finish line.
The man grabbed the credit card and the women let go of each other. They chatted about the day to come, took their bagels and headed toward the door. “Hey!” the man behind the counter said to the woman-who-ordered-salt. “Don’t forget your credit card.”
“Oh dear,” the woman-who-ordered-salt said. She ran over to claim it.
“Well hold on now,” the man behind the counter said. “I still need to ring up your order.”