Friday, October 22, 2010

Shaken Not Stirred -- With Extra Chocolate (Pink Hats and a Mack Truck, Part III)

Halley Henry considered herself comfortably cushy. Her BMI put the fear of God into obesity, but as she put it, "My hourglass figure has just accumulated some extra sand." Her husband didn't mind, remarking how his spare tire had gotten over-inflated, too. She loved him for that, but there were still times she wondered if Jenny Craig wouldn’t be good for them both.

What brought this to mind this morning was a chance encounter at the Nook and Cranny Coffee House, just off Congress Ave. in downtown Portland. Known for its home-made pastries, free-trade coffee, and live acoustic music, the NC was a haven for liberal politics, students, and not-so-straight-laced doctor-types like him. Besides, he was convinced they made the best Mocha in town. At the moment, he was precariously balancing two of them and trying to open the door of his hybrid Ford Escape when Halley got off the bus, walked up behind him, and said, "You look like you need a third hand."

"No kidding," he said, stepping back while she reached for the door handle. "Where did you come from?"

"Venus," she said, and seeing his look, went on, "You know, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus? Oh, forget it, it's still wicked early. So, we're doing some serious drinking this morning -- a little too much fun last night?"

"I wish -- no, I wanted to drop by the NICU on my way to the office."

She raised an eyebrow quizzically and he added, "To look in on the twins and make sure they didn't lose either of them," referring to the newborns he'd seen in the ER the previous afternoon.


"Hey, I'm just a concerned doctor following up on a patient, or in this case, patients."

"I only said, 'Oh'," she replied, innocently, "but you couldn't have done that by phone? Or is coffee already on their menu -- Lattes laced with formula. Better be careful, you're going start a new trend for mothers of infants with ADHD."

"They're Mochas -- you know I hate Lattes -- and they're not for the twins. The new neonatal fellow, Jessie Livingstone -- you've met, right? She was a student of mine during her residency. Anyway, she worked the overnight and I didn't think it would be polite to walk in drinking coffee without bringing an extra.” At her silence, he added, “I'm being polite, that's all."

"Uh-huh, and yes, we've met, and of course the fact that she's single and hot as a pistol has absolutely nothing to do with your chivalry. You haven't forgotten she could be your daughter, have you?"

"I haven't forgotten she could be yours,” he said, with a twinkle.

"Yes, but I'm not the one buying her a Mocha and don’t try to change the subject," she replied, as he started the Escape.

“I’ll buy you one tomorrow.”

“Make it a Latte with fat-free milk and you’ve got a deal. As of this minute, I’m going on a diet. And we're not done with this conversation.”

He smiled and shook his head, then turned toward the exit onto Congress. Sure Jessie was younger. Most of the time it seemed to him like everyone was younger, everyone except Halley, and the difference in their ages defied basic arithmetic. Halley has a good read on me; this isn't going to be as easy as I thought.

After all, he’d told the barista, “shaken, not stirred, with extra chocolate.”

(Creative Commons image by zappowbang via Flickr)

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