The man in the cafe…


He’s worked in the cafe on the first floor of my office building for 12 years now, so he has told me. I guess he is here to stay.

Every day, he teases me — using anyone in his path to do so — by asking unsuspecting employees, “What time is it? My watch must be fast/slow.” This is because I usually arrive in the cafe at 10am to get my $1.88 (incl. tax) medium make-it-yourself Starbucks coffee. If I am early, he is astonished. All is not right with the universe. If I am late, I must have encountered major trouble on my way to work. These are his stories.

He once chastised me for buying a banana because he said it cost too much and I should bring my bananas from home instead. I didn’t even want it, but they were out of bagels that day.

Sometimes he gives me free cheeseburgers at the end of the lunch shift, if I happen to wander downstairs at the “right” time. I am a vegetarian and he knows this, but he gives them to me anyway. They go uneaten. Just like the free bacon and egg biscuits he hands me. (I don’t like the look of the egg or the bacon. Plus, there’s never any cheese on them… or mustard, mayo, tomato and lettuce….)

Other times, he gives me free pastries. Yesterday, I was handed a glazed doughnut. It was the first time I’d actually been tempted to eat anything he’d given me. (How do I know where it’s been?) I did eat it, though. But I only made it halfway through the cheese danish he’d offered to my daughter a couple weeks ago when she came to work with me. She, on the other hand, rejected it on the spot when I pulled it out of the little white pastry bag.

The cafe man also likes high fives. I am not a high-fivin’ girl, but I go along with it because… if I don’t… well, who knows what commentary I will face. Recently, though, he has started referring to me as his sister. At the register, I must fist-pound him in order to get the “what-up-bro” discount. The bizarre part is that he doesn’t actually discount anything for me.

This morning, though, he complimented me on my new hair clip. He liked how it was in the shape of a pair of glasses. Know why? Because it WAS my glasses that I had tipped back onto my head. SIGH.

It never ends.

And this is how my workdays start, every day, Monday through Friday.

The upside is that he occasionally gives me extra punches on my Coffee Club card — through which I receive a free cup of coffee on every tenth visit. I feel never-ending guilt about this. He also gave me a rose for Mother’s Day (not all of the moms were so lucky; he gave it to me on the sly). A month later he wished me Happy Father’s Day with a free cup of coffee, because he knows just enough about me to realize I am all such things to my daughter….

In fact, he doesn’t understand why I have no man in my life. I hear this often from him: “Men are so stupid. A beautiful woman like you… no one who was smart would let you go. They don’t know what they have. It’s stupid. Come to my restaurant this weekend… or my church. I will introduce you to some nice people.”*

Umm….

Anyway…. I’m pretty sure he says and does some variation of all of this to numerous women in the building… judging from the stories I’ve heard about him from a few other women in the building….

It’s nice sometimes, but… very AWKward. šŸ˜

Sing it to me, Smokey!

*Rather presumptuous, non?

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