Last Call – Table for Three, Please
The intersection, or better yet juxtaposition between the mythical Cyclops of desire and loathing is hardly visible to the naked eye. I might be going a little too "fru fru" here so let's back away from the table a bit. Slowly, making sure not to stumble over a nearby sleeping soi dog.
Back we go to the beginning of the story, down into the belly of the beast. It was a bright sunny morning in Bangkok when the world seemed right, and each and every step forward had a glowing air of optimism and hope. Little did I know that in the span of a short but sweet ten minutes, my entire life would come crashing down around my ankles like baggy pants without a belt.
My morning ritual as every Phuket Gazette reader knows, consists of immediate caffeinating as soon as possible after waking. While some could consider it a primal scream for help, in my mind it's mandatory and yes mildly addictive. Being off the island and unable to visit my local spot, I headed off to a nearby Starbucks.
My heart started thumping as soon as the green and white sign was spotted but also anxiety struck a sudden sour note that resonated all the way to my toes – could I find a vacant comfy mock-leather seat to gloat after my anticipated ascension to the heavens of coffeedom?
In the world of coffee shops there is a clear line between the haves and the have-nots. It's a rampant, random sort of apartheid that ultimately comes down to timing and luck. On this sunny day, my luck was about to turn south, and I'm not talking Rawai. Further past Malaysia and even Tasmania, down to the tip of the Southern Hemisphere where the ice house rules.
Just as I had walked in, the last vacant easy chair was snatched out from under me by a young lady bearing three mobile phones, some sort of meat on large sticks in a plastic bag and a pair of high heels. Yes as we all know in slipperland, Cinderella goes to work in flip flops. She appeared to be settling in for the duration, so, crestfallen, I limped up to the counter and meekly ordered a grande latte.
It was a busy day at the bucks and oddly enough the seat left was next to the trash can and door. This was of course one of those uncomfortable wooden chairs and tables which are meant to hold job interviews, or else discourage you from hanging out too long as they are simply put – uncomfortable.
My line of sight though was directed to the woman who immediately started working all three mobile devices but didn't seem to order anything. No green tea frapo whipped cream in a giant plastic cup or even a nuked pastry. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. "Who the hell does she think she is?" I cried out inside.
Yes my moments of indignation were punctuated by the pain of a door being shut on my food and avoiding filled trash bags hurled my way. In real estate or hotels, it's all about location. This one sucked.
In these tortuous moments, I took a moment to reflect on a lifetime spent developing a seating strategy. This started at a young age in school trying to get a permanent desk near to that lovely little blond girl who made your heart thump like a hyped-up kangaroo. Of course you ended up sitting next to the class pest or worse.
By the time you start dating and become more mature with those romantic dinners out with just the two of you, the trick is to avoid the terrible twosome conundrum of being next to the kitchen or else squeezed into the lush vegetation which has you saying "Dr Livingston, I presume?" The answer of course was to book a table for three which always ended up in prime-time placement and when asked where the third person was, you simply answered in a hushed tone about a vague medical emergency.
Meanwhile back at Starbucks, I was conflicted. Lacking the presence of coffee shop police, would the 18-year-old manager appreciate my concern about outsiders using the premises without buying anything. Or should I storm over and cause a scene, ejecting this interloper to prove a point?
Could I, should I rise to the occasion? Just as I was about to reach the moment of decision the door swung wide, hit my own wooden table and vaulted my grande latte straight into my lap. Of course that's another story.