After some good writing at StarBs I have to move close to a wall outlet. So I sit at an empty table. The table next to me is taken but the person is gone for the moment, outside smoking it turns out.
He returns. A big dude, wiry, hair squared away high and tight, early 30s, worn face. Smokes Bugle tobacco, roll-your-owns. Wears camo. Desperately strikes up a conversation about my earbuds. We chitchat as I am plugging in. He launches into missionary mode: all Christ all the time. I tell him he’s got the wrong guy, giving him a haughty, know-it-all smile. Oh no, he says, in that case he has precisely the right guy.
So I tell him Starbucks has a no solicitation policy. He counters with God has no such policy. I relate how the other day two kids came in to sell chocolate to raise money for an athletic team and were thrown out. He says he doesn’t see any connection. I tell him it occurred to me the two cases are analogous. He refutes that.
I go back to my computer. He tries to laugh at me. He is a strange kind of proselytizer: crude, threatening, mean-looking, spoiling for a fight. A crusader throwback perhaps. He gathers his stuff, wasting plenty of motions, and on his way out makes a point to say goodbye to several dudes dispersed around the café. Fellow travelers or recent marks? Don’t know. Don’t care. Bon débarras.