Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Way You Make Me Feel

Nearly everyday I sit in Starbucks and write. When I’m not writing I’m staring out the large windows, and when I’m not doing that I’m observing people. I’ve watched budding romances, flirtations, birthday celebrations, pregnant women who get bigger and bigger until they start coming in toting an infant, and all manner of homeless people who ask for water every five seconds and occasionally sing ABBA songs. There's the old man in the polyester blue suit who reads the Wall Street Journal. The guy who wears Hawaiian shirts and sits in the cushy chairs with his laptop and portable mouse, and of course the slightly creepy guy with really hairy arms.

The bathroom at Starbucks is a single-user setup tucked back into a little alcove. You have to go up and get a key (otherwise I guess the homeless people use it as a spa.) Yesterday I was mid-tinkle when a deep voice said into the door, “Girl, I love you so much. It’s strong. Strong, girl. It’s just the way you make me feel. Don’t you feel it?. . .Hello?. . . Are you there?”

I froze. I held my tinkle stream while I tried to figure out which person had followed me back into the little alcove to make this bathroom door confession. Was it the little old man in the polyesther blue suit? Bermuda sandals man? The slightly creepy guy with really hairy arms? If it was I’d have to camp out and wait there until one of the baristas came to rescue me.

Answer me.” The man said.

He sounded urgent, so I did answer. I said, “Um.” (What else do you say when you’re sitting on the toilet in Starbucks listening to a stranger profess their love through the door?)

I didn’t have time to think of what to do next because the man started calling me “Carla”
and I realized he was not pouring his heart out to me but to the girl he was talking to on the phone.

The voice went away. I finished my business and came back out into the general coffee drinking population. I looked around but didn’t see anyone in the throes of a passionate phone call anywhere.

I realized I felt a tiny bit let down. That three second episode in the bathroom had made my heart race. Sure, maybe it was because for a fleeting moment I thought there was a creepy weirdo on the other side of the door that might chop me up and stuff me into the Starbucks bathroom trash can. But also for a second I thought someone had a crush on me, and it felt sort of exciting.

In the end I’m glad it’s Carla and not me. Coffee house romances never work out and I value the writing mojo at Starbucks way too much to give it up for a fling.


James Ford said...

And when Stephanie related her story to one of the baristas who then turned chalk white and in a monotone voice whispered, "Carla was a girl who worked here. She died one year ago today... when her boyfriend stabbed her the bathroom of the Starbucks."

MsLisaL said...

Maybe the lovelorn will see this blog and realize that the bathroom alcove at Starbucks is not as private as he thought.

And on another note: Once when I was working backstage at one of my brother's plays - he was a Lost Boy in Peter Pan, and it was my job to corral them and keep them quiet - the kids were all onstage so I was sitting alone in the greenroom. I was reading and the book was making me cry. Some man walked in, tried to start a conversation, and then put his hand on my cheek and said "no one as beautiful as this should ever cry." **CREEPED OUT**
I made it a point to never be alone there again.

Lesson - You never know when it's innocent or potentially deadly.

James Ford said...

Lisa that is hy-sterical! What a weirdo. In his defense, you are beautiful.

I was once in a gay bar and a woman walked by me and as she did she took one hand and caressed my face and smiled at me. Totally weird.

I'm assuming it was a woman. Unfortunately I don't know all there is to know about the crying game.