Lucas is one of our regulars. At the tender age of 4, he’s developed a little comedy routine involving our alarmingly real fake spilled-coffee cup. It usually lies in wait for the unsuspecting on the floor near the pass-through between the bookstore and the dining room, and he’s seen it a million times. His act is to declare with loud and adult disdain “I’m never falling for that coffee thing again!”
He is not, however, beyond needing a bit of parental guidance to get past all the other kid-ambushing goodies on offer. The other day as he and mom entered from the back garden, mom kept going but he veered sideways into the tiny children’s section. She turned and patiently gave him a moment. Then: Bubba! Silence. “That’s not the bathroom. The police are going to be here in a minute. Give you a ticket.” Humor seemed to be an attractant; he emerged and they headed out towards the restrooms. I was surprised by his easy capitulation, but they were going to pass through again on their way back to their lunch in the garden and I wondered if a second transit might be too much for his powers of resistance.
“I’m never falling for that coffee thing again!” heralds their return. Across from the fake-coffee-spill, handbags are on offer on hooks cascading down the doorjamb. Mom ponders a whimsical bag in caramel-colored button-tufted Italian leather that could remind you of 1950’s coffee-shop booth seating. “That would be fun for an upholsterer.”, she says. “What’s an upholsterer?“, asks Lucas. He pronounces it perfectly, not stumbling over the unfamiliar multiple syllables. “Someone who puts padding and covering on furniture.” He takes this in for a moment, then turns and heads for the kids’ corner as mom begins to peruse the gift shelves. He returns with two large creepily soft plastic flies: “Which color do you like?” She regards them thoughtfully but makes no reply. He takes them back and returns in time for her to show him some adorably tiny ceramic baskets. “Look at these cute little bowls!” He regards them thoughtfully but makes no reply. Turning, he finds a book: “I’ve never seen that book before!” “Not now.” she says. We’ll. come back when we have more time.” He looks at her: “We never have more time.” She:”Yes we will.” He, emphatically: “I think we won’t!” He’s not sulking….he’s….joking!
Triumphant, he turns and they head out into the garden to finish lunch.