The baby is crying. "I know, honey," her mother coos, and rolls the stroller gently back and forth. Seeing her across the cafe, the deaf man is troubled by the privacy of her pain. "You can't walk around, honey, it's too dangerous," she tells the baby, though she appears to address the sky.

"What took you so long?" she asks her husband as he sits down. He says the baby wants to get out of the stroller. He lifts her out, and when he sets her down she begins crying again. "You just got out, and now you're angry again?"

Behind him, a girl is saying to a boy "no, you really can't understand." They're wearing identical black jackets. She leaves (in a huff, he thinks) to get their drinks, and when she returns there's a whining dog in her way. "It's okay, it can't reach you," he says, and she slips past.

"That poor dog," says the husband, "he's been waiting for his owner for so long." "He's a she," says the wife, "and her owner's just inside. She's just a whiny dog."

The baby starts toddling over to the dog, and hits her head on a chair. The deaf man reflects how poorly the world is made for babies. The baby's parents are amazed how often the baby runs into things. The baby reaches the dog. Still whinng, the dog doesn't see her. Her mother picks her up.

The owner comes out to the dog and holds her head in place. "Sit," he says, "stay." As soon as he goes back inside, the dog strains her leash towards him.

Another man comes in with another dog. "My dog is ridiculously well-trained," he tells his friend. "His training cost as much as a new car. He's an expensive puppy. Sometimes I think he's smarter than I am." He tells his dog to sit. The dog stays standing. "Don't be a punk."

26 May 2013