Ten Minutes at Alpine in the Morning

At 7:39 a.m. backpacks slump farther down students’ backs and eyes are still decorated with sleep crumbles.

Alpine Bagel Cafe is the hub on campus. Well, as much of a hub as any place can be before the first classes on a college campus.

Two employees in Alpine’s signature forest green t-shirts scurry behind the carb counter in routine.

It’s a constant flow of calling up the next person in line, muttering down at the bagel, and then handing the breakfast to the hand on the other side.

The woman’s “Can I help the next guest?” is a practiced song that rises at the end as another morning-weary student edges forward.

It’s like they could do this routine with their eyes closed. They could slide the questionable-looking egg into the microwave and punch 20 seconds. They could spread just a little bit too much cream cheese on the blueberry bagel, wrap in up, and chop it in half.

At 7:50 a.m. the line is longer, and the day begins.

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