Pseudo-isolation, week 16: in dialogues

“Shall I sprinkle some dukkah on this?”
“Of course!”

“I really want cake now, but none of these cakes are really attractive… I suppose what I want is a cake from that Japanese bakery in Covent Garden…”

“I’m going for a walk. I need to stretch my legs!”

(20 minutes later, it starts pouring with rain)

“Are you OK or are you wet? Do you need me to meet you somewhere with an umbrella?”

(10 minutes later)

“I’m OK! I took my umbrella.”
“Oh!? What is this?”
“You guess! Early birthday celebrations!”

“Should we get take-away lunch?”
“Since we’re on holidays, we should do things we do on holidays, even if we’re home.”
“Yes! Let’s eat out (but in).”

“Hello? Yes? I’d like to order some food for take-away. The donburi with tempura and the bento with chicken teriyaki… and two Kirin Ichiban, please.”
“Well, that’s a very holiday thing to do! Beers for lunch!”

“Hi, we came to pick up some food?”
“Devvers, right?”

The owners enthusiastically wave at us from inside; she gets closer to the window.

“We are very happy to see you! How are you?”
“Good, thanks. How have you been? Are you reopening soon?”
“Yes! Tomorrow!”
“That’s great! Well… thank you!”

We bow and nod, we leave.

“Oh! Look! There’s a miso soup.”
“Is there only one?”
“No, one of each. But I feel like starting with the donburi and having the soup afterwards.”
“Well, I will have it before.”
“Hmm, then I will have it too.”
“What are you getting the chopsticks for… ah! The seaweed in the soup…!”

“This miso soup is very nice. It’s hot today, but I don’t mind that the soup is hot. It’s very comforting.”
“The donburi is also really good. I’m enjoying it a lot.”
“Hmmm. This rice is perfectly cooked! This was such a great idea.”
“Should we have… ice cream?”
“Yes, and coffee? This beer is making me sleepy.”
“We’re becoming lightweights. We drink a can and get all tipsy and sleepy.”
“I think I’ve been a lightweight all this time…”

“I’m sorry, I was convinced we had a lot of bread in the freezer, but there are only four slices left, two of each type! I’ll have to make bread tomorrow.”
“Oh nooooo! The tragedy!”

“Hello! Do you have flour?
“Flour, yes.
“Di grano tenero double zero?
“… Yes?

He struggles with the mask, clearly resisting the urge to pull it down to talk. His voice is quiet, muffled, tentative, as if he doesn’t know how much volume to use to be heard. I can’t hear half of what he says.

“It’s down there… There!”, he says pointing at a lower shelf.
“Oh, I see! Oh! And what are these? Why are they not on a box? What are they? What is the difference? Are they different flavours or is the wrapping just different colours?”
“Some are softer, some are harder. But you can also get them from here, individually…”
“Oh! Ah! Should I just take some?”
“You get them! I can’t, with this… thing in here!”
“OK, I’ll have these four… Shall I pay here?”
“So how have things been? Are you seeing lots of activity?”
“Well, here, you know, we have all sorts of things. Sandwiches, take-away food… Anything else?”
“Oh! Yes—let’s get these black spaghetti too.”
“And what are you going to do with the flour?”
“A focaccia!”
“A foccacia? Like these ones?”
“Yes, but bigger, more spread out. I use a rectangular base…”
“You can make it long and then cut it in portions! You can also make pasta and bread with that flour.”
“Right, yes! Well, thank you!”

I didn’t want to confess I intended to make focaccia with sourdough and lager and maybe break his Italian heart!

“Hello? I came to pick an order I placed online.”
“Great—just bear with us one second… Are you going to drink the wine just now or in a while?”

A glance at the watch: it’s not even 12.

“I think it’ll take a bit—maybe an hour and a half?”
“Then maybe you can take the cold wine already, but place it in the fridge as you arrive, then take it out a bit before so it’s at the right temperature.”

“What are th—”
“Don’t look! It’s secret!”

“Beeep beeep beeep”. The oven falsely declares it’s reached the set temperature.

(Speaking on Zoom)

“Sole is making things smell nice. But I don’t know what it is.”

“What are you doing? I suppose I can’t look.”
“Yes, you can’t. I’m also not sure of what are you smelling, because there’s nothing in the oven. Maybe you’re smelling some crumbs, or the fat…?”
“Are you sure? It smells very good.”
“Why don’t you go away so I can actually make things that smell nice without you destroying my surprise? Go! Go to the bedroom and rest and read while I prepare everything!”
“Well I guess I’ll have to.”

“Are you asleep?”
“No, I’m just dozing. Is the food ready?”
“It will be in a moment, but I want you to look at its beauty before I serve it. Come to the kitchen!”
“Oh! It’s so pretty.”
“And now you can sit.”
“Oh wow! This is a feast!”
“It is a bit! I wasn’t sure of how much food the set would be so I ordered some more sides. I suppose we can always eat the rest whenever.”
“And here’s the wine… which I have covered with a towel so that it’s a surprise for you to uncover.”
“Ah! The Tokaji!”
“Like the last time we went!”
“I’m going to toast the pitta breads. Unfortunately, this restaurant has friendly service, but as the reviews would put it, it’s very slow! They need to hire more people.”
“It’s fine. It is absolutely fine.”

“Oh! The pitta breads have puffed up in the toaster!”

“This is delicious. Thank you!”
“It is very good. I’m also enjoying that we didn’t have to cook it! It’s nice when someone cooks the thing for you sometimes.”

“Also, the babaganoush is the clear winner.”
“It is. It’s my favourite.”

“I… I don’t think I can finish this? I am very full.”
“It’s OK, as I said we can put things back into boxes and into the fridge. That’s the good thing about eating at home. You can eat as much as you want and save the left overs in different boxes instead of all lumped together.”
“Yes. I don’t know why I’m so full.”
“Who knows! I suppose you don’t want dessert now?”
“I still need to process! Not now. Maybe after we go to the pub.”

“How do you feel about it?”
“I’m a bit scared.”
“Well, if we don’t like it, we come back.”
“I think so.”

“Hi, we have a reservation at 3?”
“Sure! Yes! So you have to fill in this form. All the data is secure, no one can see that.”
“Ha ha!”
“She works in tech. We don’t believe it.”
“All of tech is a big lie. Nothing is safe.”

The waiter looks absolutely mystified. We sanitise our hands, and enter the almost empty pub.

“And this is your table. We will be with you in a second.”

The waiters fight the urge to fiddle with their masks.

Spray! Spray! The table to our left is cleaned.

“There seems to be a group doing a pub-crawl outside? And the guy won’t let them in.”
“I mean, because clearly doing a pub crawl is the best idea now.”
“They look so much like bros.”

“I’m not so sure about this. How can they possibly sustain themselves with eight customers at a time?”
“I mean, they’re selling a lot of take-away beers. In those frappuccino shaped glasses.”
“Or iced tea glasses.”

“If each third is about £2, I don’t think we’re going to drink the deposit.”
“Yes, I don’t feel like drinking more.”
“We truly are lightweights! I suppose they will keep the rest of the deposit?”
“And that’s how they break even!”

“Is the dessert the cheese cake?”
“I won’t say yes or no.”
“I’m pretty sure it is.”
“You’ll have to find out.”
“But I’m sleepy and tired!”
“I’m sorry but I want to have it now. Can I have it now?”
“You don’t need to look if you want to keep the surprise for longer.”
“I’m really sure it is.”
“I won’t say.”
“Ha ha! It definitely is the cheese cake.”

“I’m going to have my dessert now! Where is it?”
“There, in the door”
“So it was the cheese cake! I knew it!”

The mighty Honey & Co cheese cake
The mighty Honey & Co cheese cake

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