Monday, September 19, 2011

The Man in the Purple Shirt

A police officer was busy writing down a statement from 3 women as I marched through the door. Each of the women gripped a white and green cup, one frequently took a sip. I glanced around the space, looking for blood, weapons, or a candlestick....nothing. Everything looked fairly normal, actually. 4 men in the corner were leaning into a laptop, which displayed several graphs. A student with ear buds was busy flipping through an anatomy book, while a young woman, highlighter in mouth, was busy shuffling through pages in a notebook.

"What did I miss?", I asked the barista that was ready to take my order.

"Some guys stole some one's iPhone. Right off the table. Right in front of everyone!", she explained, seemingly pleased that I inquired.

"Well, wow!", I said, and proceeded with my order for an overpriced latte.

Caffeine in hand, I began looking for a table to set up camp for my 2pm call. I found an open chair, nestled in front of the inactive fireplace, with access to 4 outlets. Incredible.

After my call, I quietly worked. That was until the man in the purple shirt sat next to me, in the other brown leather chair. I gave him the customary coffee shop glance. If you frequent coffee joints, even the national chains, you KNOW the glance I'm referring to. I was about to break my stare as the man's bottom started it's descent down to the chair. As he was mid squat, he pushed the cup he was holding up to his lips and slurped. The kind of slurp a child would make as they held a plastic bowl up to their face, enjoying the milk left from their Cocoa Puffs cereal...chocolate.


He slurped again.


And again.

He sat down.

Ah, he probably didn't want to spill his drink, so he was taking off the top first half inch prior to sitting down. Then I realized there was a lid on the cup. My next conclusion, being the most obvious, was OCD. I mean, right?

This was quickly confirmed when he spent 4 minutes 'centering' his cup on the stone ledge that sat before him. Moments later, he began to slurp. Hard, often, and nothing less of obnoxious.

Bodily noises have and will always creep me out. When people try to get something out of their teeth by reverse whistling-gross. When people crack their knuckles-please don't. When people have flem in their throat while they talk-CLEAR YOUR THROAT! I mean, right?

Slurping was no different. The man continued to habitually slurp for the next few minutes. I seriously considered moving to another location. That was until, he picked up his phone.

He leaned back into his chair, far exceeding "comfort", and arguably going into the "inappropriate" zone. His legs were spread too far open, in my opinion. He quickly brushed his hand through his hair, which was oily and receding, and proceeded to dial.


"Hey......I was thinking about you so I thought I would call you. I'm glad you picked up", he said.

He was speaking loud, I guess he wanted to intentionally interrupt those that sat around him so they would listen. He took 3 more quick slurps of coffee. He was intently listening to the person on his phone.

"I took a hot shower. A long, hot shower. Got dressed, and now I'm at the coffee shop. I'm sitting in a very comfortable leather chair, and I'm thinking about you".

He began moving his open legs quickly from side to side-swaying in his chair.

"So how is your condition", he asked, just as loud as he was speaking before. He stopped swaying his legs.

I read and answered a few emails, and very quietly took a sip of my pumpkin spiced latte with skim milk. 2 minutes later, the man in the purple shirt became even more weird.

"So, I've been thinking.....two people should have chemistry, right? Do you think we have it? (there was a long pause) great, great...so do I. I was hoping you would say that. OF COURSE you're smart...you have an excellent vocabulary. Does your mother like me?"

He said this so quickly that I'm not so sure the person on the other end even had time to respond.

I put my cup up to my mouth, to cover a big smile that I could not hide. This was so funny to me. It wasn't like I was being the creepy one here. He was talking so loud, it was nearly impossible to not hear him.

"See...you are what I would call a 'plain Jane'. Remember that top you wore yesterday? Let me ask you this, do you like the way you look when you are sun kissed? When you have a tan, do you look Greek? Do you look Middle Eastern?", he went to pick up his cup, but instead, rubbed his ankle and leaned back in the chair.


I wonder if they ever met? The way this man was speaking to the woman on the phone, suggested they had only exchanged pictures. Wouldn't he know what she looked like when her skin was tanned?

"Polish? I could see that. When is the last time your hair was natural and not colored? Really? Do you have a picture...if I looked at your roots, I would see a light brown or a medium brown? Don't take this the wrong way, I like the way you look, BUT maybe not this decade, but the next decade...hopefully women won't color their hair", he went on to say. He was looking down at his feet, rubbing his hands through his Beethoven hair. A greasy masterpiece, indeed.

"Okay, I will call you later. Bye". Giving very little warning, he ended his conversation with the woman on the other end.


I picked up my cup, and sadly realized that I was out of java. I looked around me, the 3 tables that were once occupied, were now completely vacant. A few napkins and a straw were scattered across one. Did the man in the purple shirt scare everyone away? I was the person that was closest to him-only one small black coffee table sat between his chair and mine. Was I the weirdo for not leaving, too?

The man in the purple shirt picked up his cup, slurped 3 times, and got up from the chair. He had a newspaper with him, which I did not realize when he first sat down. He rolled it up, placed it under his armpit, and walked out the door.


As I slowly started packing up my things, again noticing the empty tables around me, I immediately began to feel self conscious. Was I the weird person for not leaving, too? Clearly the man in the purple shirt's behavior was beyond odd and his bizarre telephone conversation apparently offended all of the strangers that sat around us. Everyone but me.....


I must be the weird one, then. I mean, right?

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