So this tottering old guy walks over to the the quad of easy chairs, which are all being used, and sidles over to two middle-aged patrons who are leaning in toward each other, obviously and deeply engaged in conversation, and then he loudly erupts with “That’s the primo real estate here, those leather chairs.”
For the next 20 minutes, the old man moved between his chair and theirs, handing a business card, asking for the man’s (which he gave him), and talking up a storm about things that no one asked to hear, such as where he lives, what he does, what’s right with the world, what’s wrong with it, and all while continuing to interject more awkward statements into the set, such as this one to the woman: “blondes have more fun, isn’t that right?” and this dubious one to whoever was listening: “I’m filthy rich, did you know that?” and asking the couple increasingly personal questions, which they felt socially obligated to answer, I assume, since they did.
I could see them exchanging worried glances to the extent of, “how the hell do we extricate ourselves from this?” But both were at a loss, because they were too nice to know how to stop someone who is socially on the fringe – the kind of person who does not “get” personal and social boundaries.
Now, me? I was doing work and needed to avoid the interruption. No problem; I’ve been in LA long enough to know that the Starbucks are chockfull of nuts and the homeless and escapees from the insane asylums (and they’ll never make me go back, I swear, bwah-hah-hah)!
So I saw him coming from afar and quickly steeled myself. I lowered the bill on my hat so he couldn’t make eye contact with me, and then plugged in an in-ear stereo headset so I could pretend I couldn’t hear him. After all, it’s easier to avoid than extricate.
Finally, with a last glance of despair, the couple cashed in their chips. The man: “Well, I’ve got to be going.” The woman: “Yeah, me too, why don’t you give me a call later?” And they both got up to leave, but not before the old man offered to also call them both later and even started to follow them out!
They quickened their steps beyond his feeble gait, it seems, because he stopped following them. But then he darted back to the leather chair quad and quickly commandeered one of their chairs.
I finally did. I got it; The ol’ codger is smarter than he looks.
Now, I know how to get one of the Starbucks leather easy chairs when they’re all taken. Well played, old man, well played.