Business is slow, to say the least. Rich drops me off in the mornings, and I open the place at 7AM, with maybe two or three customers before noon. It's ok, we're new and I've been able to read through the paperbacks that have been laying around the house half-finished. Today I started the other books- the one's I've been putting off. The ones my father sends me. Annie Dillard's The Maytrees. Books that require all of my attention.
Tourist season hasn't really started yet, in fact other than Memorial Day weekend, it won't be crazy until the end of June. I watch the street cleaners and garbage trucks trail up and down the street as the day heats toward noon.
And then the Locals stop by. Always our Landlord, a kind man who's been known to buy lunch for anyone who's around during the lunch hour. He drops off little presents for us- a butcher block table he found in the garage, a small fryalator. He stops to chat, his cheek smeared with light blue paint from whatever he's working on out back. And he always says that we'll be great. He says our food is awesome. People will love you, he says. And I love him for saying so.
The previous owner stops by to wish us well. She tells us of the time her teenage son ran an ice cream shop out of our space. Apparently it went ok, until he became infamous for pitching maraschino cherries at anyone passing by. She buys croissants, saying them with perfect inflection and pulls out her calendar to tell me when the busy days will be.
One by one they stop by, people who I've never met, who pull us into this summer community and encourage us. Next, our friends show up. People who we kinda know, but who could get away with a quick good-luck. I am humbled by their presence, and I wonder when last I showed this kind of support for someone else.
And all of the sudden it doesn't feel like we're doing this alone. All of the sudden it feels like we're grafted into a community, like we were meant to be here. Maybe that's just the crazy in me talking, but somehow it gives purpose to the slow mornings, and takes away (ok, minimizes) the stress of food cost and turning a profit.