It’s good to be back in the Eagle Rock area, really it is.
It’s a lovely Starbucks too. Really. It is.
It’s just a bit more adventuresome than your average Starbucks.
I mean, Eagle Rock is hardly skid row, right?
But it’s got its element of the homeless and insane.
More than its fair share, it seems to me.
Which always makes Starbucking colorful here.
Take just now, for instance, when a yelling match ensued between the stalwart store manager and an obstinate homeless patron.
Well, “patron” isn’t the right word.
You see, for many of the homeless, Starbucks is popular. No, not for the coffee, but for a comfy chair, some warmth, and a restroom.
And the manager is remarkably tolerant, I find. As long as the non-paying visitor is not sleeping, not bothering patrons, not camping out in the restroom, not making a scene, and not staying for hours, she turns a blind eye.
But today’s visitor was one of those guys who, though never a customer, has become a regular. Too regular. And like a barnacle, he is not easy to extricate once he settles in.
And so the manager – a rather petite Asian woman – stopped the big man (who looked a bit like an unshaven, unsteady version of Graham Greene) at the entrance, telling him he is not welcome.
He did not appreciate her viewpoint.
And the Starbuckers got nervous, distracted from their laptops, their newspapers, their novels, their pumpkin spice half-caf lattes, and their idle chatter to sideglance at the rising confrontation.
But the more the man protested, the more firm the manager got. Though probably half his weight, she held her ground.
I sauntered my scrawny ass over to the newspaper rack – which, yes, was right beside the exit – and nonchalantly flipped through the papers, staying close to her just in case the stubborn visitor got ugly.
Armed as I was with a Monday edition of the LA Times, I’m sure I could have done an outstanding job of defending her from an attack if it had come.
But it didn’t. Her steely brown daggers, aka eyes, held him at bay.
And he finally backed down, backed off, and stormed away from the store.
I holstered my LA Times.
And the manager holstered her fiery countenance, returned to her sentry post behind the counter. A half second later, she was flashing a friendly smile and a perfectly poised what-can-I-get-for-you-today for the next patron in line.
Samurai, I tell you. Pure Samurai.