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At the coffee shop

CamerBruce W.

Cameron, Bruce W.

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Updated: November 2, 2011 3:05AM



I know it sounds strange, but I’m one of those people who goes to a coffee shop to drink coffee. I don’t bring my laptop so that people will see that I’m so busy that I can’t even take a coffee break without working, nor do I bring my mp3 player so people can see that I go to the coffee shop to listen to music, nor do I bring my iPad so I can show people I know how to work an iPad.

I was sipping coffee yesterday when I overheard two young women working on a crossword puzzle behind me. One wore a yellow top, the other, blue.

Yellow Top: OK, a 3-letter word for car part.

Blue Top: Uh, car?

Yellow Top: Good one!

At the table in front of me, a man was talking to a woman I took to be his girlfriend.

Man: So, look, the bottom line here is that in my apology, which this is, I’m saying we both have some blame. I mean, OK, I shouldn’t have thrown your stuff out the window. But can you see how you made me angry?

Yellow Top: 7-letter word for a type of bird, ends in “ow.”

Blue Top: Crow!

Yellow Top: Not enough letters. Wait, is it? No, it’s too short.

Blue Top: Then make it “Crows.”

Man: It’s just that I’m not used to having people issue me ultimatums, which when you said you were tired of me shoving your pillows on the floor was like an ultimatum. I mean, I’m bigger than you so when I sit on the couch, yeah, the pillows are in the way. I’m not saying that I was right to escalate things from that point, but can we both agree that it all started with you?

Yellow Top: You know who I should text? My uncle. He’s a, what do you call it, an Or ... orth ...

Blue Top: Orthodontist?

Yellow Top: No. He’s the kind of doctor who studies birds.

Blue Top: He studies birds? A doctor?

At this, both Yellow Top and Blue Top laugh hysterically.

Man: And it’s not like the pillows got hurt or anything. I mean, they’re pillows. It’s like if I was going to throw something of yours out the window, I obviously showed restraint. Most guys I know would have probably done a lamp or a vase or something.

Yellow Top: He’s not a real doctor, he’s a Ph.D.

Blue Top: In birds.

Yellow Top: It has a better name, they don’t just call it birds. I’ll text him.

Man: So, I admit, in the sense that the pillows are your issue and that obviously you were upset with something that wasn’t in the end really that big of a deal, I’m sorry you have these feelings. So that’s it, that’s my apology. Now what do you want to say to me?

Yellow Top: He says what about Swallow or Sparrow.

Blue Top: OK, so, we put down both?

Yellow Top: You can’t do both. Haven’t you ever done a crossword before?

Blue Top: No.

They laugh hysterically.

Man: I don’t think analyzing my apology is helpful to where we are in the process. I mean, sure, if I wrote it all down I might have said something else, but I planned on being spontaneous. So, sure, my words might have been wrong, but in the end what really matters is that I’m taking responsibility for the part of this that is my fault.

Blue Top: I think I’m more of an expert in current events, like what celebrities are doing. I mean, when it gets to the point where you have to text a Ph.D., I’m like, hello?

Yellow Top: We should feel pretty good, we got, like, 10 of them.

The ladies leave.

Man: Probably the mistake we’re making here is focusing too much on my behavior, and not enough on the relationship as a whole, which is the bigger issue if you’re going to keep giving me ultimatums all the time.

At this point, the woman, shaking her head, leaves. The man looks at me.

Man: See what I got to put up with?



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