Secretly Spying and Surveying at The Daily Bagel

It’s 10:30 on a sunny Friday morning. The chilly air is overwhelmed by the warmth of the little shop once inside. The shop smells of wheat, and the noises of treading feet and buzzing machinery fill the air, giving off a calming vibe. Tables are speed throughout the shop, but only a few have customers seated at them.

“I got to make sense of it all,” says the man sitting nearby. “It’s all so scary.” He sits with a woman around his age. They finished their food a while ago, leaving empty plates and cups on the table as a reminder. The man speaks in hushed tones, his voice tainted with exhaustion, while the woman is barely audible, throwing the occasional head nod or “uh-huh” every so often to show she is still listening. It’s difficult to make out the precise details, but snippets of their conversation suggest conditions at his current place of employment are less than stellar.

“If I could make changes, it could happen and I could finally be relaxed.”

“I’m in better shape if I don’t know what he’s doing.”

“I’d rather not know it exists. If I don’t know it exists, I don’t have to worry about it.”

Meanwhile, two women sit at the opposite end of the shop. Their conversation is not nearly as dramatic as the previous patrons.

“He does part-time work as a ski instructor.”

“At one point she wasn’t taking her cholesterol medication.”

NearĀ their table, a bulletin board rests comfortably on the wall above the sugar and other condiments and utensils. Various ads and pictures are tacked into the cork, all surrounding a Blue Man Group poster. Autographs are scribbled all over it, and the blanks stare of one of the performers seems as if he is watching over the shop making sure everything is at ease.

In the center of the room, an older man sits with a bagel sandwich in one hand a newspaper in the other. He sets his half-eaten sandwich down and turns the page on his paper, stretching it out to its maximum width. He tries to loosen some food out of his teeth with his pinky finger.

A bearded man and his son walk into the shop. They are wearing matching blue coats. Holding his son’s hand, the man goes to the front counter and orders for the both of them. After retrieving their food, he takes his son to a spot by the window, and they get caught up in their own little conversation. Minutes later, he gets up and goes to get a refill for his water cup. The son cries out, “Dada.”

The women have left, and minutes later their spot has been taken by a young woman wearing a green shirt, brown vest and long black boots. She is mesmerized by the beat-up paperback in her hand, pausing occasionally to gaze outside at the gorgeous weather.


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