“I really don’t think it is,” I said.
“No seriously, it’s one of those things that marks the end of an era. We are now in the over-three-dollars-for-a-loaf-of-bread era. Just like remember the time of thirty-two cent postage stamps?”
“Those are eras?”
“Well. Not each postage stamp increase thing. It’s just that bread isn’t supposed cost three dollars. That’s a thing. That’s more than it is supposed to cost. That makes bread somewhat unaffordable and that just can’t be. It’s un-American.”
He had put three quarters into three different expired parking meters. One of them didn’t even have a car in it and he said, “It’ll be nice for whoever gets here next.” He carried the loaf of bread in a doubled plastic bag that they gave him and I said it is just as American as what they say the French do.
“What do the French do?” he asked.
“Carry the baguettes down the street under their armpit. It’s what gives the bread the flavor, they say.”
“The French? Who’s they?” he asks.
“No. The Germans.”
We took the bus home I spent most of the ride staring at a woman who stared at her reflection in the window the entire time not blinking. She just stared, tired, into her own eyes with no judgment but with no kindness either. The bus stopped at a light outside the church and all the kids were wearing their Sunday best and an older brother, I’d age him about eight, was holding his younger sister’s hand and they were both wearing long tweed coats and Sunday hats.
When we got home, he asked if he could borrow some quarters to do some laundry.