As Jerry and I drove across the serene Sonoran desert, I noticed smoke signals near the mountains on the horizon. Puffs of dirt whooshed upward toward the clouds. We know the rising dust as dust devils but they always remind me of smoke signals. I said to Jerry, “Just think. Before email or telephones, Native American tribes used smoke signals for (long-distant) communication. I wonder if they ever had miscommunication? Maybe three puffs of smoke meant ‘we’re doing well’ and four puffs of smoke meant ‘it’s war.’ What if they meant to send three puffs and accidentally sent a fourth puff?”
“What can I bring you to drink?” asked our waiter, Roberto.
“Coffee,” Jerry said without looking up from the menu.
As Roberto sped away, I said to Jerry, “You sound kind of grumpy.”
He said, “My back hurts. I didn’t mean to sound grumpy. I’ll feel better when I have coffee.”
We scooped the warm complimentary tortilla chips into the bean dip and munched as we waited. Roberto returned to our table empty-handed.
“I’m sorry, but we don’t have regular coffee. We have decaf. Would you like decaf?”