Palm Service

The warm, twinkling glow of Christmas lights framing the window of Snowbird Coffee lured me in at primetime– Sunday, midmorning, on the Inner Sunset main drag– after previous attempts to lift myself from the morning fog were thwarted by long, chaotic lines at neighboring hotspots.

Snowbird had zero line, and almost zero people–attractive in satisfying the immediacy of my coffee situation, but also mildly worrisome (there are many “cafes” in the Inner Sunset whose coffee is the epitome of disappointment).

But the absence of a line won me over– and the barista was thrilled.

As I walked towards the register, the barista’s eyes pierced into mine, as though he were trying to read my order.

Sensing the barista’s eagerness and my own indecisiveness, I told him I had no idea what I wanted and needed a bit of time.

“Oh, no worries. Let me know if you have any questions. Or if you want any suggestions,” said the barista. “Or, if you need any life advice, your fortune told. I can read palms too,” he said with a smirk.

I decided to entertain the barista’s offer and told him I’d like my palm read.

“Really? Oh my god. Okay…. but I just started learning, so I don’t remember everything…. and it might be wrong,” the barista muttered in between cupping his hands over his mouth, then around his cheeks, and then facepalming.

After he took my order and gave me back my change, he stepped out from behind the register and began to read my palm.

“Sooo, you’re very outgoing,” he said, pointing to the second top crease in my palm. “And your relationships have been….”

He rubbed his chin and rolled his eyes up to the top of his brow as he pondered how best to phrase it.

“Your relationships have been… hmmm. I’m not sure how to describe it. They’ve been…. not good? Flaky?”

By now the entire store was listening intently to my fortune– and life woes– being aired out in the middle of the cafe.

“Now this is service!” yelled out one of the three other cafe patrons.

“And, if you have kids, they will be healthy,” the barista added. Apparently the lines at the bottom of your palm tell you that.

After scouring his mind for other readings, the barista confessed that he couldn’t remember any more signs. He retreated back behind the espresso machine and began to make my Americano.

But less than a minute later, as he pressed the espresso grounds into the metal filter, a lightbulb went off.

“Oh! And it’s important to note that the palm is just what has happened. So, you still have a chance to change things,” he exclaimed.

“BUT, that also means that your kids could end up being unhealthy, you know, if they start doing heroin or something.”

Ah, good point. I’ll keep that in mind.

This city makes me smile every day.