September 10: he asked for a cup of coffee

We got up early and went to Hampstead Heath for a walk. From there to Swiss Cottage and a Japanese cafe we had picked out to buy two Japanese cakes. Unfortunately it had become only take-away, so we put the cakes in a box for later and went next door for a cup of coffee. A man came in, maybe mid-thirties or forty. He asked for a cup of coffee and sat down. The waitress came over to clarify the order because, as you know, you cannot simply ask for a cup of coffee these days. She said Cappucino? He said a cup of coffee. She was confused. They agreed on white coffee. He waited a few minutes. Nothing came his way. There were about six people on duty in the cafe and it wasn’t very full. He got up and went across to the counter. Can I pay? he said, irritated. They were confused because it would be customary in this cafe to pay at the end, The white coffee was on the way though. It was £3. He paid in three pound coins. I was relieved they took cash. I was wondering what he was doing in this cafe when it looked like he was used to the habits of the so-called greasy spoon. As he left the cafe, muttering under his breath, I noticed he was carrying two big bags of Waitrose products. This was difficult to compute. An expensive supermarket but unfamiliarity with ways of a contemporary metropolitan cafe. He must have been living under a stone for two decades not to to know that you cannot ask for a cup of coffee without biblical retribution raining on your head. Old coin was also an iniquity that he committed. There are other crimes I commit myself; not keeping everyone waiting in queues while I get a big chunky smartphone out and pay with that; not paying with a QR code (which ironically stands for Quick Response). Today at work I wasted probabaly three hours trying to fill in some sheets that were only available in a hidden passageway of Microsoft Teams that wouldn’t open up for me. I also am available to be spoken to in life as I do not wear earphones in my ears. I play the role of social outlier and should probably wear a hi-viz jacket at all times that would set me neatly apart from the rump.


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