Sunday, November 27, 2011

Lunch for One at Coco's

The following is an excerpt from a work-in-progress called The Town I Live In.

I was on my way to Subway for a quick lunch when I walked past Coco's. I'm not an especially big fan of Coco's food, but I thought it would be interesting to eat there, as a kind of sociological experiment.

The main clientele at Coco's is senior citizens, mostly white. I sat at a corner table, eating a bland turkey sandwich, taking notes.

Seated four tables away from me were Mayor Pro-Tem Don Bankhead and his wife, Carol. I thought to myself, so THIS is where they eat. I never see them at downtown restaurants, except maybe Cafe Hidalgo sometimes. I think Don recognized me, because he kept shooting me suspicious glances.

The waitress was a Latina woman who looked to be about 8.5 months pregnant. I wondered if she should be working. It was probably a matter of financial necessity.

The geriatric party of four seated at the booth next to me were a fascinating bunch. One woman kept asking for more lemons. She was, like, obsessed with lemons. I got the impression that she was going to base her tip upon the speed with which she got her lemons.

One of the men at the table got talking about a conflict between Turkey and Armenia. He said, "The Turkeys are brutal, and the Armenians aren't that far behind."

He asked the waitress when she was due.

"Three weeks," she said.

"Well, let's hope it's not today," he said.

She laughed, politely.

Apparently, one of the women's Asian chicken salad had "quite a zing to it."



  1. I grew up in Coco's across Orange County. My folks both managed different stores, taking us along as kids. When my sisters and I hit the appropriate age, we all spent time waiting tables there. I've held fantastic jobs in photo lab dark rooms, mom & pop's coffee shops, w/ the disabled and in a high volume/pressure bank.....and my Sunday mornings working the counter at Coco's were the best fun. They warmed my heart. The pot of coffee never left my hand, and the same lovely old folks would come in week after week. My name tag read "Dottie". I felt it appropriate.

  2. Really compelling stuff.