Lunch -- Play, Perspective, and Narrative Voice Assignment

The error is nested so deep within the stack trace he feels cortisol flood out from his capillaries. After a few seconds of leg shaking he shuts down the laptop, shoves it into his messenger bag, and escapes.

Outside he is cast
Blue. Bad day for perfect weather he thinks while at the same time imagining how he would look right now if someone were to take his picture. Light blue cotton shirt, off-beige khakis. One of several uniforms for
's young creative class men. This makes him feel better for a moment until he grows bored with the thought and his mind gravitates back to tomorrow's deadline and the bug. Quickly he goads the right foot into taking the first step before he fully calcifies onto the sidewalk.

One step at a time he makes his way to a pricey but not exclusive restaurant where they serve a cherry,
salad that will help him cope with today. After hours of screens and too many cups of strong, local
, a wide bowl of leafy greens is just what's needed. In the waning thick of lunch he's able to find a seat at a wall booth. Black cloth napkins and water served out of old wine bottles with the labels sloughed off.

Everything about this place: the brick walls, large windows, and the tastefully attractive waitstaff makes whatever he's discussing feel infinitely more important. When the conversation flows well enough -- reaches just into the right levels of the personal and the political, he will lose himself in the scene and become a film character. Most often
. Sometimes Gosling. Either pitching some powerful, father-figure type like
Michael Douglas
or playing the
devil's advocate
asshole type across the table from someone his age. The type of guy who crosses one leg over anther at the moment before saying something morally disgusting, but on the tip of the everyone's mind. Such a feeling was worth ~15 dollars a dish plus tip.

No such feeling to be found this time around. The lunch crowd vanishes quicker than expected and he's left choking down his salad in the noise of waitstaff chatter and the anxious expectation that everyone is beaming at him to leave. He does not feel at all like Leo or
Ryan Gosling
talking to
Jonah Hill
or a young
Matt Damon
. Instead he feels like himself. Immediately after replying to the waittress that everything is delicious he thinks about how much better lunch would've gone had he gone instead to the cheap bagel place with the good people watching. 

"Coffee or dessert?"

"No thanks. Just the check." He smiles. 

Feeling neither full or satisfied he walks back towards the coworking space. He dreads the final stretch of the walk. Once the third story windows of the space is in view he wishes that it was ten blocks over so that he could just continue walking. Taking a step with one foot and then the next with the other. Walking isn't a glorious job, but it's one that makes a lot of sense. 

When he reaches the sidewalk under the coworking space's building, he thinks for one moment. About bagels. Coffee. People watching. He keeps walking.

Echo and Narcissus Writing Club