After the waitress had seated him, the man removed his earbuds and looked around the restaurant. A fan rotated lazily directly above his head.
He had been listening to a lecture by Alan Watts. One thing in particular stuck with him. Alan had mentioned offhandedly that one day he would like to write a story about a man who is looking for a guru. In the story the man would just select this guru randomly, projecting all these great attributes into a common insurance salesman and how, eventually, through this common insurance salesman, he would indeed find enlightenment.
The waitress interrupted this train of thought and the man explained he would need a few more minutes before ordering.
His gaze fell on the fan overhead. It was turning slow enough that he could make out each individual blade, although it was not easy. His eyes picked one and he began to watch it. His head began to make small circles.
He wondered if it had to be an insurance salesman.
He wondered if he could follow the fan blade for a full minute.
When the waitress returned he ordered an omelet and a cup of tea without taking his eyes off of the fan. She was not surprised. When he didn’t take out his earbuds upon entering the restaurant or during their walk to his table she suspected he was a rude one.
“Why not a fan?” he asked himself.
He wondered if he could watch the fan blade until his food arrived. He began to feel a bit dizzy, but he did not take his eyes off of it. It was all there was.
Eventually the omelet and tea arrived and he wondered if he could finish his breakfast without taking his eyes off the fan blade.
“Will there be anything else?” his waitress asked him.
“Everything else” he thought.
He wondered if he could watch the fan blade all morning. It took his complete and total concentration. He couldn’t afford to take even the quickest look around to see if anyone was aware of what he was doing.
After another hour he ordered a light lunch. When it arrived his hands felt around the table for the fork and, once it had been located, he pulled his plate closer without ever looking down.
After another five hours he ordered dinner.
“We’ll be closing soon” said a voice, different than the one he’d been hearing all day. “We… uh… turn the fans off.”
The man produced a credit card and signaled that he was ready to pay for his three meals. He felt it being extracted from his fingers. Moments later a bill was delivered and a signature was required.
His eyes left the fan blade.
Typically he left a tip in the neighborhood of 20%, but this time he bumped it up to 30%.
He stood up, put the earbuds back in and returned his attention to the Alan Watts lecture.