January 24, 2010
The cappuccino reached perfection through negation: not too bitter, not too hot, not too soupy, not too foamy.
The ambient music was soft enough that I could drown it out with Pandora.
The writing was going great.
And then it started.
Bump bump bump bump bump bump bump bump bump .
I glanced bumpward and saw my neighbor's foot kick kick kick kicking the bench we shared.
The set up at Calabria, the cafe where I'd parked myself for the day to write, consists in a mix tables surrounded by chairs or, along most of the cafe's walls, long benches.
I was sitting on a bench in the corner, where I could mind my own business and write at peace.
Then he showed up, two tables down, and started the percussion session.
I put my music louder.
But the bumps were rattling my bum, not just ears.
I shot a few "looks" his way, but he was blissfully oblivious.
I looked for open tables, but saw only one -- the one between his and mine.
Finally, I did what I was least looking forward to: I asked him to stop.
"Hi! I'm just wondering... well, I know I'm going to sound like a crotchety old woman, but when you kick the seat like that, I can feel it over here."
"Oh! I'm so sorry!"
"No, I'm sorry -- if I weren't trying to concentrate it wouldn't be a problem."
"No, definitely, thanks for telling me. I would hate to be annoying someone and not know it."
"What are you researching?" I asked, since it seemed like the nice thing to say after asking him to kick his habit.
And that was that.