Welcome to where the seeds of dreams are planted--where one can sip from the charmed chalice of life & meet interesting folk through (hopefully) intelligent conversation.

One never knows nor can expect who will sail into the fray--what we do know is that no soul here is perfect no matter how we try. So let us celebrate & raise our mugs to the idiosyncratic nature of life--to the Kramer's & Norm's of the world, the Roseanne's & Allan Poe's. Some old, some lost, some tortured, some blessed, all souls sharing a drink at the same time in the same place. The ensuing tales are authentic with names trending towards monikers. The flag waving on our doorstep means we're open, so come perk your curiosity in Le Harbor Bungalow Cafe.

Bonjour! Mesherfin! Hasta la vista! Your barista.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Dolphin & the Dilemma

Keeping the Hive Alive…Why do cities grow or die? It’s all in the math.

 “Are there more of these?” patron Jerry asked as he read the new cover story of The Urbanite resting on the café bar.

“Behind the front door is the rack,” the barista said motioning with his soapy hand across the bar to his left.

The freebie was the first issue of 2012 for the glossy Baltimore magazine.  Jerry wanted to relate the article to his concentrated collegiate studies on urban planning and/or administration.   The Cincinnati Bengles fan is a seemingly bright fellow who tutors children of rich parents.  The conversation between Jerry and the barista evolved into the topic of automobiles, when from the next table over, patron and house guitarist Jim turned his head.

“I know how to get 50 miles per gallon in my truck,” he said grinning, while he adjusted his beret.

A baffled look crossed Jerry’s face.  The barista has heard Jim’s story before.  He remembered Jim mixing some sort of concoction with his gasoline.  

“When I get some wheels I’ve got to get that recipe from you,” the barista said, being careful not to slice his fingers on the bagel knife as he submerged his hand in the bubbly water of the café’s sink.

“Anybody can find it on the Internet,” Jim replied, typing on his laptop machine.

Just then, a spark flicked in the memory stores of the barista’s head.  I have some wheels.  The Dolphin!

“Per chance, do you know how to fix a leaky roof of a camper?” the barista asked as he dried his hands.

“Aluminize fiber roof coating for trailers.  It’s expensive, but it works,” Jim said with a nod—and without hesitation.

Jim patronizes le Harbor Bungalow Café often.  He will stop by for lunch or tea before giving guitar lessons later in the afternoon.  Sometimes he’ll give a lesson right in the café.  He’s played the guitar for more years than the barista has been alive (in this lifetime).  An encyclopedia of information accumulated in Jim’s head over the years, though some may call him a curmudgeon.  His was a compelling answer to the barista’s $3000 question—the amount he has been asking for his camper in an online classified advertisement the past few months.

22-foot, Class C RV, has three beds, refrigerator, sink, 4-range stove with oven, dining table for two, toilet and shower.  Only 78,000 miles on a four-cylinder, SR-52 engine.  Mechanically, it runs fine.  Cosmetically, the roof needs some repair and the rear AC needs replaced.  This great camping vehicle drives like a small U-haul and can easily fit into any standard shopping mall parking space.  I once lived in it for 10-weeks, but now live in the city and do not have the space nor time to use it.

Should the barista pull the ad, give the roof repair a final attempt and drive the Dolphin another day?

“If it were my camper, I’d run that baby into the ground and then get rid of it,” Jerry said.

The sentimental value of the Dolphin to the barista is through the roof.  Maybe that is why it leaks.  He acquired the recreation vehicle within a week of his being laid off from the newspaper industry in 2009.  After six weeks of repairs and customizations, the barista drove over 5000 miles across ten weeks, from California to Pennsylvania in time for the Christmas holiday with his family.  The investment paid off handsomely; he was ready to move on.

But like a chocolate croissant walnut roll, the road is tempting.  And after the fourth cup of Costa Rican Estate black coffee, the barista’s mind shifted into overdrive.

“You’re right, Jerry.  Why give it away when I can drive it into the ground?—then give it away!  No bargains!”

The Dolphin remains in Pennsylvania.  It needs to move.  Can the camper survive in the hive?—In a dying metropolis?   Maybe, like The Urbanite said, it’s all in the math.  Hmmm…20 + 12 = Carpe Diem.

1 comment:

  1. I STILL have not picked up a hardcopy of the January Urbanite! Must be some really good stuff in that issue if you are writing about it and I want to catch every reference.

    PS - You sell the Dolphin? Never. Cash is cold, the Dolphin warms you.