I think that every unemployed person has a coffee shop they go to regularly. My unemployment coffee shop is near the local mall and near a highly trafficked office building. This means that I have to get there pretty early, otherwise I am left with the straggler seats that have no nearby outlets and have to seek out jobs on my cell phone while stalking the good seats that are taken within seconds. The nice thing is that for the most part, I run into very few freaks.
Until recently, of course.
To set the stage, if I have the “good seats” in the coffee shop, I am usually lost in thought and whatever activity I am doing at the moment. Plus, I balance my time between my ever-crashing laptop and my cell phone. As a result, I have the tendency to not focus on the people around me and who is sitting near me.
So one day, last Tuesday to be exact, there I was, surfing the internet for jobs and looking on my cell phone. Probably Twitter or something like that. This went on for about an hour or so. Out of the corner of my eye, I think I see a flash of a blue sweatshirt. I look up and I see someone walking away from the area I’m sitting in. I assume it’s a fellow coffee shopper and I ignore their presence.
You know what I learned? You can tell when someone is staring at you.
Because about a half hour later, I look up from my Twitter fog and I see the blue sweatshirt guy sitting across from me. Usually not a big deal, but the guy is looking right at me. I get this rush of…fear, I guess. Or maybe not fear, that sounds a little exagerrated. But whatever I’m feeling, I know it’s time to move. Especially becaues the guy is alternating between stroking his nasty goatee and picking his nose. Stroking. Picking. And staring. At me. I decided not to stick around to watch hand to move south.
I pack up my stuff and I decide to take root in the bookstore next door. Not one of my favorite places to lurk, because I get this impression the workers don’t like me coming in there all that often. I think it has something to do with the fact that I don’t buy anything. Too bad, I say. They have free wi-fi for a reason, I figure.
And I especially don’t care at this particular moment because I just want away from the coffee shop weirdo.
Inside the bookstore, I take my seat at one of the tables and continue my job search. I’m still feeling a little freaked out about the coffee shop weirdo. Then, twenty minutes after I sit down, I get a text from my mom to meet her for lunch (she works nearby). Relieved for the distraction, I pack up my stuff and exit the bookstore. I take a right and go past the coffee shop and look in.
The weirdo is gone.
People, he only sat down at that spot because of me! And those were the “good seats,” by the way. You don’t leave those unless you have to. Or had no purpose sitting there in the first place. Or just sat down at those seats to stare at someone so long they get freaked out and leave.
So, that’s it. I am not sure I can go back to that coffee shop again. I refuse to run into this guy. Or I will have to arm myself better. I must keep my wits about me.
Or maybe I just need to get a job.