I want to meet Lawrence Biemiller. Any man who can find inspiration for a piece on writing and memory in a Waffle House is welcome to come down and do a theory of semiotics derived from Delhi’s dhabas.

When I gave the waitress my order — Fiesta omelet, hash browns instead of grits — she repeated it to the kid, and he said “Got it” without looking up. Then he added another plate to the long line waiting on a wooden shelf that separated him from the grill, tossing on a tiny plastic container of jelly. I realized that he had coded the plates so he could keep track of what he was working on with just a glance. Plates with two slices of cheese ended up with double cheeseburgers, which the Russians were apparently big on. Plates marked with containers of syrup got waffles. Right away I thought of the ancient Sumerians and the invention of writing.