I ask for 250 grams of Royal Superior Dark coffee beans, and one of the ladies measured out the quantity on an electronic balance.
“Do you want them ground?” she asks.
“Yes please, for a plunger.”
She pours the beans into a grinder - presumably one with to a pair concentric grinding cones – puts the grade selector lever to 7 and starts it. While the machine minces the little pile of beans in the inlet tray into a little pile of grounds in a paper bag below the outlet chute, the lady turns to me and asks, “Do you like Rod Steward?”
“Yes, I used to like him, but the later albums have changed a bit,” I reply.
“I just bought his Greatest Hits album, and I’ve been trying to convert everyone ever since.”
The other shopkeeper puts her index finger to her throat, draws it laterally across her oesophagus and grins.
“But since you already like him, I don’t have to convert you.”
“Yes, you’ll be preaching to the converted…”
“On my wall, I have this photo of Jesus,” she holds her hands in the air indicating a photo frame. “Next to Jesus I have a photo of the Buddha,” she holds her hands up indicating a photo frame next to the first. She takes a step to the side, presumably because her hands cannot reach the position of the third frame. “And I have a photo of Rod Steward,” she shows the position of the third frame. She continues, “So you see, I worship Rod Steward as well.”
“Mm, pity you can’t put up an image of Allah as well, since there are no images of Him.”
An awkward pause. “Are you Muslim?” she asks cautiously.
“No, I’m just saying.”
“So, what god or gods do you worship?”
By this time the bag of ground coffee was already in my hand and money in the shop’s till.
“Well… one of them would be Google,” I reply after some contemplation.
The other shopkeeper fails miserably at suppressing a snigger.
“Google?” the first one asks, an eyebrow raised questioningly.
“Well yes, it can do anything you ever need, and more.”
“Ah… and what about your others gods?”
“Mmm, coffee is another important one.”
A baffled, WTF expression surfaces on the other shopkeeper’s face.
“Ah, I see. So… we’re your goddesses, we deliver your coffee to you. We’re like, Virgin Mary who delivered Jesus.”
“Yes, yes, that’s entirely accurate.”
“You would need to bring us some sacrifice in exchange for your coffee”
And it went on, one senseless statement replied with another nonsense statement…