While it is true that guests come and go from the Pfister on a daily basis, order there are also plenty of good souls who you can classify as Pfister regulars.
The formidable Barbara Brown Lee who has knowledge about the visual art world that could fill many volumes of thick books (my predecessor Anja Notanja Sieger tells Barbara’s story beautifully) is a definite regular in the Café at the Pfister.
Barbara has her own table. She has no need to look at the menu to know what she wants to eat. She’s on a first name basis with the entire wait staff, and jokes fly back and forth with them all.
Barbara also comes in daily, picks up the newspaper (the real paper one, not a digital version mind you—that’s how regulars play) and does the crossword puzzle. She’s a champ and finishing the crossword puzzle is something that is not a miracle occurrence for her, but rather the daily expectation.
Having taken to sitting near Barbara on my daily visits to the Café, I have happily formed a friendly relationship with her. In that collegial role, I have recently become one of the people Barbara might throw a clue out to for help while she’s doodling on the puzzle. I suspect sometimes that she doesn’t really need the help, it’s more like throwing a dog a bone. I for one slobber all over that bone.
I’m always willing to step up and help a crossword puzzler to fill in all the open boxes. I like to give my fellow man or woman an assist, and it’s certainly great to entrench yourself in the fabric of the regular rhythms of life at the Pfister by showing one of the regulars some love.
So I help Barbara finish her puzzles whenever she throws out a clue. And to do so, I cheat real, real bad.
I’ve certainly been able to come up with a few words and ideas from time to time on my very own. There was the day that the word DAHLIA (a Mexican flower was the clue) came to mind and I was able to help Barbara with a vexing opening. But I’m often at the Café writing behind my open laptop that is connected to the internet through the glorious available WIFI. The temptation to reach into the vast Googly network of research available to me without Barbara or anyone really seeing me do so is too tempting.
Barbara threw out the clue, “Two letter Kipling poem,” and you would be amazed at how silently and stealthily my fingers typed KIPLING into my keyboard to get a list of his works. (The poem is called “If” by the way, and it is a good one.)
I’ve not told Barbara of my cheater, cheater, internet eater ways yet. For now, I’ll try harder to keep my hands off the keys and keep my brain in the game. Being a regular means living by a certain code, and I’ll be damned if 17-across will bring me to my knees.