I did not wake up in stellar condition on Sunday morning, so it’s fair to say that I was less than excited to see what appeared to be two three- and four-year old brothers half in and half out of their chairs in the sandwich shop as I entered.
A long evening of bad decisions and over-imbibing on Saturday used most of Sunday to exact its toll, and I was in desperate search of relief. Slothful returns to bed, coffee, a small pile of advil, and two bananas had done little to aid me, so I’d thrown on some sunglasses to protect against a sunlight glare that wasn’t there, and I’d dragged myself two arduous blocks on a quest for some bread.
Aside from the couple in front of me at the counter, the two young boys and their father were the only other people in the shop. They appeared mostly done with their meals, but both boys still casually poked through the remnants. At first, I didn’t pay much attention to their happy chattering, as I was too busy silently and internally judging the couple in front of me for what and how much they ordered, as well as the young man behind the counter for working so slowly.
In reality, it was probably me who needed to be managed more properly. The guy behind the counter was doing a relatively impressive job simultaneously handling multiple tasks on his own, and I ended up making a poor sandwich selection.
The couple had just finished ordering when I heard the father patiently explaining to one or both sons that English was a comparatively difficult language to learn. I was immediately struck by how admirable this was. Although, I had no idea of the context of the larger conversation, I imagined that perhaps one of the boys had inquired about someone they knew or encountered for whom English was not their first language.
Giving their table a quick glance, I noticed that the father had a number of characteristics that fit my stereotype for academics. He looked older than average for a father with sons the age of his, suggesting that he perhaps spent years pursuing an education and…