Saturday, 6 July 2013

Inveigling in Victoria

She's plump with red hair reverse-French-braided back from her temples which glow with tiny golden sparkles. Behind her, another barista, whose auburn locks hang down her back in gentle corkscrews, offers her opinion on my mullings over the possibility of a raspberry crostata. I seem to have stumbled into a Pre-Raphaelite Starbucks -- except that the Starbucks is across the street from this locally-owned coffee shop in one of the older neighbourhoods of Victoria. In a few minutes, these ginger sirens have talked me into heating the pastry and adding whipped cream blossoms. The girl with the twinkling temples fashions a three-dimensional rose atop my mocha. Tellingly, the design begins with a spiderweb. Heaven knows what they would have convinced me to do had I been a susceptible, heterosexual man of a certain age. Like, say, the Resident Fan Boy, who is a safe three time zones away.
I make my way to the patio where cheeky sparrows bob along the tops of empty chairs in search of breakfast.  I lay a Hansel-and-Gretel trail of shortbread crumbs along the top of the brick partition near my knee, to see how close they will come.

In single spies, then pairs and trios, they steal the crumbs farthest from me, fleeing at the approach of Saturday morning joggers and dog-walkers.  Several minutes later, one daring bird comes within inches of my elbow, but vanishes at the soft click of the camera shutter.

Bird brain.