Am sitting in a Starbucks, trying to work. This is a pretty crowded place, and the individual tables are all filled. So I’m sitting at a long rectangular one with eight seats—sorta like a Thanksgiving setup, except with people I’ve never before met. Across the way is a short Asian woman in a yellow sweater. To my immediate right is an older white guy, bald and series. And, to my left, is a man—mid 60s—green sweater, sorta frumpy, listening to an iPhone.
He’s the one guy.
By “the one guy,” I mean the person who, inevitably, will talk your ear off. It starts innocently enough. When I sat, he asked, “Are you a teacher?”
This was an immediate tipoff, because why the hell would a teacher be sitting in a Starbucks on a Tuesday afternoon at 10:14 am? I could see it in his eyes*—talk to me; let’s chat; I’m bored; c’mon, gimme a half hour to tell you about my father’s old ’57 Corvette.
Because I tend to be a talker, I get it. I 100 percent get it. Loneliness is a bitch, and the Starbucks Thanksgiving table is often the cure. But, well, most of us do, in fact, come here to work. So, to get sucked into “one guy’s” vortex if verbal hell is to return home with nothingness.
* OK, I couldn’t see it in his eyes. In fact, I loathe when journalists write about the eyes, as if they’re scopes into the soul. I’ve looked into a million pairs of eyes, and I’ve never seen shit. It’s myth.