In case you missed it when it was originally posted–A REBLOG FROM EARLIER IN THE YEAR.
Covert glances around newspaper pages…steely-eyed, angry men wearing muted shades of gray…silent, unsaid threats of catastrophic damage were ever-present…thinly-veiled scorn and contempt for the other side, constantly seeking for ways to outmaneuver the enemy for the upper hand. It was a time of fear where the lives of innocent were at risk and there was a sense of foreboding that no one could escape.
What am I describing? Could it be a scene in Russia? North Korea? Perhaps this story is set in East Berlin before the fall of the wall? No, this is simply the weekly scene that occurred at my local coffee shop, and it was war.
Today is Sunday, and it’s my San Francisco Bay Gourmet Coffee Breakfast Blend that is warming-me-up this morning! It’s a new blend that I recently picked-up on a whim and it turned-out to be a good gamble. I’m becoming a fan. I picked-it up on Amazon for a really fair price per k-cup–check it out if you have a coffee maker that uses k-cups.
For the past 3 or 4 years I’ve frequented a local coffee shop in the city where I live several times a week. There are many seating choices in the cafe, bar stools, plush chairs and a variety of tables. Early on, I chose the perfect location. It was a small table that could seat four, conveniently tucked into a corner out of the mainstream bustle of customer activity happening at any given time–plus there was a power outlet right beside the table for my laptop cord. It was a perfect location, and for many months it was a haven of refuge and solace where I could escape the real world with my coffee for a few hours each week to reclaim my peace and sanity.
Enter crazy-man-with-white-tufts-of-crazy-hair-who-mutters. So, I show-up one morning around my usual time of 9:00 a.m. or so and the loony guy who had been contentedly occupying the long eight-top wooden table next to mine for MONTHS just decided to take-over MY table. I was shocked speechless as I sullenly chose another table in a much-less attractive area of the store to ponder my battle plan.
I. Would. Get. My. Table. Back.
The ensuing couple of months were tough as we both sought ways to outwit the other. I decided to arrive earler. It worked…until he starting doing the same thing. This went back-and-forth for a while until I arrived one morning at 6 a.m. and he was already there! Enough was enough. If the table meant that much to him, he could have it. I was not happy to be caving in defeat, but a man has to have his sleep and arriving pre-6 a.m. was out of the question.
Then one day, he was gone. I noticed he was never there. I slowly reclaimed my table and moved-on, but I wonder what happened? Did the pressure and stress from lack of sleep finally cause him to crack? I suppose I’ll never know.
The odd thing is, he and I both never spoke a word. Our battle was a silent battle of wills and it became a matter of principle that we handle our disagreement covertly. In fact, it was rare that we even exchanged glances– if we accidentally made eye contact, we would both quickly look away as though it was somehow forbidden. It was my coffee house cold war.
I wonder if he died?
If he did, I hope wherever he is, that he is forced to silently search for the perfect table for eternity.