July 7, 2016:

The business girls are rioting. There's wine involved. They're telling less than public stories of their colleagues and laughing themselves sick.

Nontrivial hospitality. The hostess seems genuinely sad when I decline a wine list. I tell her so and she laughs — and offers it again. The waitress insists on getting a glass for my sparkling water, and insists on pouring it herself. I think it's cultural. The people are taught to welcome.

My friend is late. I'm watching the wall TV that flickers without sound, making up my own dialog. Another friend in this city, a new friend, is home right now resting after surgery. My thoughts really are with her. Everything else is noise.