Bette is an absolute dear. When I first saw her, I kinda inwardly stepped back. She has a funny look about her that makes you think she is perpetually annoyed. But the second she begins to speak, she is just a beautiful person. Very easygoing and a real mouse, she sits with the loudmouth of Barrett. (Another great person, but I'll save Pearl for another day.)
One lunchtime I was wandering around with the order sheet and pencil, ticking off what they each wanted for dinner. I asked Bette if she would like spaghetti bolognese or a toasted sandwich. I expected her to simply choose a toasted sandwich, as she has one almost every night. But she looked at Pearl beside her in confusion, and asked, "What do I usually have?"
Pearl rolled her eyes. "Bette, you always have the sandwich, but if you want the spaghetti, have the spaghetti."
Poor Bette looked absolutely stumped, as if the decision were just too much for her to deal with. She looked as though I'd asked her to construct a dodecahedron using only popsicle sticks and string. I was wondering why she just couldn't work out whether she liked spaghetti. Finally, I suggested she have the spaghetti as a bit of a change. She smiled at me as if I were Santa Claus.
I put the list away, finished handing out the lunchtime dessert, and came around with the tea and coffee pots. When I got to Bette, I asked her if she would prefer tea or coffee.
She paused thoughtfully, then turned to Pearl and asked, "What do I usually have?"