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There’s a Stranger in My Paradise

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I needed a “time-out.”

I needed a moment of quiet reflection so I grabbed Gussie and we headed for one of our favorite places: Marie Belle—a Chocolate Boutique.

When you just need a moment, Marie Belle’s is like an oasis in the desert, a haven. And, when you just need a moment is there really anything better than a chocolate haven? There is not. When you can drink a hot, thick, spicy cup of it, straight up, while watching Mostly Martha playing on the back wall of the cafe in the back of the boutique—middle of the day perfection.

As Gussie and I sat waiting for our mmmm, mmmm good Chocolat Chaud, an obviously exhausted woman walked into the cafe with a couple of big shopping bags and plopped down in one of the chairs as if she had been waiting for this moment all day.

The server, a beautiful young woman, dressed as if she had just stepped off of a Paris postcard, asked, “What can I get you?” The woman responded, “A dark chocolate spicy Aztec, HOT and make it a double. I’ve had a hard day!”

“Honey, I know what you mean!” I couldn’t resist.

Once established that we were on the same wavelength, she chatted with Gussie and I for a moment about the wonders of chocolate and then the three of us just sat silently enjoying our chocolate haven in a cup.

Then, in the middle of this perfect chocolate solitude, this guy storms into our cafe all sweaty and just all wrong.

He stands at the counter waiting for our chic server—the one courtesy of the Parisian postcard—with all of this impatient, sweaty energy. He had a messy little folio full of papers. She gracefully turned, and with total elegance asked, “What can I get for you?”

He literally shouted back: “Menu! I’ll take one of your menus! Oh, and give me a business card, too.”

First of all, she’s two inches in front of you. Second of all, it’s against the rules to sweat in a Chocolaterie. Third of all—get out!

We, all four of us, were a little annoyed by this obnoxious display. If you can’t appreciate what has so thoughtfully been created here, you have to move on. You can’t come in here shuffling papers, shouting, and sweating all over the chocolate. It’s really not okay.

Once he got his menu and business card, as if to add insult to injury, he asked if he could use the toilet (sigh). The good news—he was quick. The bad news—we were sure that meant that he had not washed those hands.


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