Sunday morning and Olympia, Washington’s Batdorf and Bronson coffeehouse is packed full of politicos in sharp suits pecking absently at laptops amidst a crowd of hipsters slouching with flair into leather recliners, flaunting the fact that they have nothing better to do.
I order a vanilla latte that is decorated with a floating cream heart by a surly girl who leaves my thank you conspicuously unacknowledged. I take a seat near a window. Beside me sits a large man in a navy blue suit and a young woman in business formal. The man has the biggest mustache I’ve ever seen that wasn’t on the face of a porn star or drug dealer. He doesn’t wear the mustache, I thought. The mustache wears him.
“The people in this country have lost their complex reasoning skills,” he grumbles. “People don’t know how to goddamn think anymore.” He jabs his finger at the side of his head over and over again as though trying to drive it through his own skull, but always at the last minute pulls himself back from the brink of self-destruction.
He realizes how loud his voice had become and lowers it, but soon works himself into a new diatribe about healthcare, taxes, and all of the dimwits in the country – by which he means, apparently, everyone but him.
The classically pretty young woman asks the mustache question after question, leaving her notebook open on the table before her but never writing anything down. She just grins and nods.
He doesn’t mean me when he talks about stupid people, her grin says. No, not me.
She has the look of a heady idealist just out of college, caught between the worlds of school and career. Her outfit is standard professional fare, but she still clings to the last vestiges of her tie-dyed integrity with a love bead bracelet, no makeup, and hair pulled back in a bun.
With the mustache raging on, I finish my coffee, scoff loudly, and walked out the door.
I look through the window as I pass to see him still talking. He watches me through the glass. I stare back until his eyes divert uncomfortably, and I feel a rush of petty victory.
As far as the young woman, all I can see is the back of her head as her brown bun bobs up and down with eager nodding, almost as if she's giving fellatio.
I feel sorry for her and head to the bus station.