There is a growing phenomenon that I find slightly disturbing. People who literally use their neighborhood café–think Starbucks or, my personal favorite, H Café–as their personal office space.
(dramatic pause to gather myself)
Alright. Fine. Whatever. So I refer to H Café as “my office.” So what? It is. I’ve totally taken ownership over my neighborhood café. It’s just nice to know that Hasam (the real owner) knows my name and my order, without me having to speak. He knows if I have my laptop with me that he should put my order on a plate. He also knows if I have that sleepy/”don’t fuck with me” look in my eye that I won’t be staying very long and I will not be talking. Hasam’s very understanding and he’s OK with me just grunting and pointing at pastries. This is for the safety of me as well as the safety of those around me, really.
So I am contributing to this café phenomenon. I can accept that. But, there’s a huge difference between me and the others who use “my office.” I just sit quietly in the corner and blog or read or get high on coffee or all three. The others, and it’s never the regulars, come in and completely pull me out of my happy place. Damn them. I know from the moment they come in the front door carrying those snappy shoulder bags, frantically talking on their geeky bluetooth, all while focusing on the blur of thumbs holding their ever-so-cool blackberry, I know that they’re gonna be trouble. They’re gonna force me to do something that I don’t wanna do and that’s eavesdrop on their conversations, just to see what is so important.
OK, fine. I can’t hide it. I’m jealous. Secretly I want to have something to do that is so important that I have to ignore all those around me. I can’t help myself. I think I have a disorder or something. Let’s call it NLS: Nosy Little Shit disorder. Jeff tells me I’m like Gladys Kravitz from Bewitched. “Gladys get away from that window,” he’ll bellow.
“But, I’ve got to see what they’re fighting about.”
“You even can’t hear them, how do you know that they’re fighting?”
“Well, if they’re going to keep their windows shut like that I’m just going to have to assume certain things. And, I think they’re fighting. Look at the way he’s closed off from his boyfriend. They never really talk anymore.”
“You need help.”
Keep in mind that I live in the city and if people leave their blinds open I can see all their business. Or, perhaps even watch their TV. But, most of all, I like to create stories about their lives. I have an extremely attractive neighbor who I’ve created an entire story around. Keep in mind, everything that I know about him I’ve overheard while at “my office” or simply made up. Realize that I’ve had to take certain liberties, fill in the gaps of knowledge.
He’s a straight married man named Matt who doesn’t get along with his demanding and selfish wife. She constantly nags and berates him. His only joys in life are getting his morning coffee at my office and then taking his two loving dogs for an abnormally long walk. He also enjoys skateboarding to work. It allows him to feel the freedom that he doesn’t feel at home. But, he’s stuck in this unhappy marriage because the wife’s father bought the house for them. He feels trapped.
It’s kind of fun. And, annoying. Every time Jeff and I see him on the street, I add another detail to his story. Oh yeah, and since he’s so cute, I call him my boyfriend. Don’t worry, Jeff knows all about this delusion relationship. He’s supportive. Jeff has nothing to worry about, since I refuse to actually ever talk to Matt. I prefer to just imagine things about him.
The other day my friend Jaclyn and I were walking down the street and Matt was talking to someone in front of his place. All I heard his friend say to him was “see you later, Dan.” I was crushed. Everything that I’ve actually known about Matt wasn’t true. His whole made-up world came crashing down in an instant. His name is Dan. Hmmmm… This changes everything. I think that “Dan” probably had a rough childhood. I bet he ran away from home at age 13, ending up in San Francisco after hitchhiking across the country… Or, maybe I’ll just continue to call him “Matt.” After all, I’ve really enjoyed not liking that wife of his anyway.