men / neurotic thinking / writing

And that’s the end.

suspicious behavior at Joe's--please note master storytellers and wary bystander

I went to Joe’s today to buy coffee and breakfast tacos. One of the owners, D., was working the counter, and he asked if I had a moment to talk.

D. talked to That Guy on the phone. They’d had some other issue with him–“weird” chimed in D’s partner–but he also talked about me. D. told That Guy that he’d bothered me. He told him to not do it again. And he told him if he heard one more complaint about him bothering anyone, he wouldn’t be allowed back in the coffee house.

That guy replied (and of course this isn’t an exact quote, being second hand and all), “I just thought she was attractive. I was making conversation. I wasn’t being sexually aggressive.”

D. said, “I didn’t say you were sexually aggressive. I said I didn’t want you bothering my customers–you don’t stare at women like that.”

That Guy hasn’t been back to Joe’s. But he does I know I complained.

I imagine he will tell his friends how he’d struck up a friendly conversation with a woman in a cafe and she got all freaked out, complained, and now he can’t go back to that coffee shop because she got everyone to believe he was some sort of rapist.

Women! You can’t even talk to them!

If I can’t control what some strange guy in a cafe thinks about me, there’s no hope for what people will think of my writing.

15 thoughts on “And that’s the end.

  1. Of course you can’t control what some weirdo in a cafe thinks! Besides, he had other issues too, apparently.

    We can’t control anyone else but ourselves, so write for all you’re worth and the heck with the rest. 🙂

    And whew, thank goodness he’s gone!

  2. I have to disagree with your conclusion. Since we’re like cosmic cousins or something, I’m betting that you suffer from the same disability that all of the writers in my family suffer:

    We can write eloquently, humorously, and succinctly, get our story/argument out in language very clear to understand and very hard to take personally – but, we can’t talk our way out of an emotional situation for shit. I’m used to having the time to really analyze what I want to say and pick the perfect thesaurus-boosted words to get the thoughts out there. I can’t talk and stand at the same time. And if I were in your situation, I would have been a bumbling idiot and then would have shot out the door like a bat out of hell after a half hour and never gone back to my favorite coffee shop b/c it would now be tainted. I would have let That Guy “win” my seat rather than risk ever seeing him again.

    Yeah, I know. I have issues. Heck, if I’m in a tiff w/ Bowser, I have to go outside for a half hour and write down exactly what I’m trying to say so there is no more confusion. Not good at thinking on my feet and verbal sparring. I am a warrior with a pen as my sword, no pen and I’m a scallywag.

    But, I think my point about a verbal dissonance that happens to writers in emotional situations is something you’ve already intuited, “This is way more drama than I want in my life. I like the drama on the page instead.(your words from a prior comment thread)

    I think drama sends lots of us deep within ourselves at an early age and a few are lucky to transform into beautiful writers with iridescent, lacy, scripted wings that fly us along in the world, parallel, but not quite touching the dirty drama of interaction. You are the most social writer I know and your network of friendships is gorgeous, but at heart you are first and foremost a writer. You control the drama.

    And, you know what? You did. Joe’s is yours again. No more That Guy.

    I’m amazed yet again by you. I shouldn’t be, but there it is.

      • I don’t know what happened to my comment, but the beautiful thing I was talking about was this part of Sophie’s comment:

        “I think drama sends lots of us deep within ourselves at an early age and a few are lucky to transform into beautiful writers with iridescent, lacy, scripted wings that fly us along in the world, parallel, but not quite touching the dirty drama of interaction.”

        It describes how I feel perfectly.

    • Yes. And it drives me mad how I can think when I write, but when I must speak my words tangle up and are impossible to make sense of. There are things I should’ve said from the minute That Guy spoke to me–and I didn’t say any of them. If Joe’s didn’t mean so much to me, I would’ve let That Guy win the space, but the coffee shop means too much to me to let go without a fight. And besides, I knew the owners and employees would be on my side! (like you)

      And you amaze me. Absolutely.

  3. I find it disconcerting that the owners didn’t handle the problem professionally enough to leave your name out of it. And even so, if That Guy just thought you were attractive why not just have an eyeful and leave it alone? What was the point in going farther to conversation? I’ve seen women who literally took my breath away with their beauty, but I never approached them and violated their personal space by touching them uninvited.

    That implies aggressiveness of some sort, even if not “sexually aggressive”, and it would make ME uncomfortable too.

    So he’s an a$$ and whatever he thinks is his problem. Whatever he tells his friends is not your concern either. If they ever asked, you’d clear it right up anyway, right? Still, I know how awkward that feels.

    I’m not good in social settings. I know this. I avoid them when I can. If he can’t take a hint and avoid settings where he’s creating discomfort, he is either obtuse or predatory.

    There are two sides to every conversation: Presentation and perception. You can only control ONE aspect — the one you’re participating in. If your presentation is perceived in a way other than what you intended, it can’t be helped. You can only control YOU in any given situation. I thought you did pretty well, considering.

    So I applaud you and now it’s over. Hopefully forever and nothing like this will ever reach out of the dark and get you again. Ever.

    • Oh, I wish the owners had left my name out of it, but that’s that. They support me and mean well. And if That Guy stays gone, it won’t matter.

      I couldn’t help feel while he was talking to me that first night that he would make a terrible boyfriend. I mean, if a guy doesn’t even know me and he feels he has the right to my personal space, what would he do as a boyfriend? Gives me the shovers just thinking about it!

      And with luck, it will never happen again.

  4. Don’t forget that predators often throw the blame onto their prey as a defense mechanism. He may very well have been feeling sexually aggressive, but since you picked up on it he had to backpedal and make it “your” problem. It’s a classic abuser/bullier tactic that I’ve seen first hand, so you don’t worry your instincts may have been off. This may have saved your life. I’m glad it’s truly over, and you never have to deal with this guy again.

    But really…do you think this guy has any friends to complain to? And if he does, are they the kind of people whose opinion you would treasure?

    • No. I wouldn’t treasure their opinions. It drives me mad how certain men just put themselves in your life without being invited and if you complain it is, of course, your fault. Errr. Brings to mind what Darc wrote above–he sees a woman he thinks is attractive and doesn’t feel that gives him some sort right to talk to her–cause he’s not a creep.

      I don’t think I’m explaining myself well, but you know, some men think a woman out on her own is fair game. “She left the house alone, she must be waiting for a man to talk to her! She will be so relieved when she no longer has to have any other interest but me!”

  5. If I can’t control what some strange guy in a cafe thinks about me, there’s no hope for what people will think of my writing.

    Okay, now I’m on the verge of slapping you to bring you out of your hysterics. 🙂 Specifically, in that sentence you omitted the second occurrence of the word “strange,” which should be placed between “what” and “people.” I might have had an easier time believing the whole conclusion if you’d made that change. (You know I’m always happy to micro-edit your verbiage!)

    I do have to say it would be interesting to read That Guy’s own blog posts on the whole series of events. (It sounds like he pretty much grilled you for information about yourself; I don’t suppose he returned the favor and told you anything about himself, like maybe a blog address, Twitter account, etc.? Nah — probably not.) “So, remember that chick I told you about last week? Man, I’m CRUSHED… Some people can be so mean and totally misunderstanding!”

    • Well, he did tell me a few things about himself. He’s a computer programmer for DPS (here that’s the place that gives driver’s licenses). He is also an apartment locator, which during busy times of year he can make double what he makes at his other job. He used to a massage therapist and thinking about getting back into that. His 18 year old daughter just moved to live with her boyfriend so he lives alone with his daughter’s dog. And he loves hiking. And he isn’t creative. Um…I might’ve forgotten something, but he did not mention anything about being online.

      Make of that what you will. Oh, and reading about myself being referred to as a chick made me laugh.

      Ah, hysterics. But that is something I’m really good at! Like now I’m hoping he hasn’t figured out my last name and found my blog.

    • Really, Amy, at my age I thought I was so past this sort of thing! Especially at a cafe owned by a gay couple where half the men there are gay. I mean, what is the world coming to?

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