I started this blog because I left Boston to live and work in London for a while, and I wanted to stay in touch with family and friends. I'm back now, but still have plenty of opinions on world news, politics, the media and the absolute craziness that comes from dealing with people. Bring it.

16 March 2006

Craziness at Starbucks

I was having some internet issues earlier today, so went to Starbucks to use the hotspot and get some work done.

So I'm minding my own business, working on my laptop when this guy comes in and sits at the table next to mine. He is wearing a suit and a pinky ring. And he is trying to chat with me despite the fact that I am clearly working on something.

Now, maybe, if I wasn't stressed about not having internet in my place and trying to meet some deadlines, I might have started to chat with him, but I didn't really have the time. So I just smiled politely and kept on working.

Suddenly he picks up his cellphone and "makes a call." (I use parentheses because I am not totally convinced he actually called anyone) He then proceeds to LOUDLY exclaim the following:

"Listen, Man. I am NOT going back to Baghdad. I don't care how
much they want me back. I don't care if they give me personal 24 hour a
day bodyguards. I need a life and that place will f**k you up! Are
you at the American Embassy? Oh, the British one? OK. Yeah,
well tell them I'm not coming back, OK? Yeah, thanks."

Apparently, this was designed to get everyone's attention because he then leans over to me and says, "Hi, I just got back from Baghdad. Don't ever go there. That place will f**k you up."

He is clearly waiting for me to ask, so I say, "Oh, what were you doing in Baghdad?" He responds that he was "consulting." And then asks what I do. I respond that I work in marketing for a company in the wireless space. He says, "Oh wow. I do marketing for wireless, too. Ringtones, stuff like that" So of course, I can only respond, "IN BAGHDAD?!" Because clearly that makes no sense.

But little did I know that he was saving his BIG GUNS in an attempt to really impress me. He leans in close, and then YELLS OUT (why someone leans in to yell in your face, I have no idea...) "Actually, I was working for Halliburton!" and sits back and waits for me to be blown away. As if that would impress, rather than horrify me.

I mention that this is not impressive and he says, "Oh, are you familiar with Halliburton?" (I stifle the desire to tell him that unlike him, I am not an idiot.) Then follows it up by asking if I am American. (As if my accent doesn't make it obvious.) When I respond in the affirmative he tells me that he carries American, British, Canadian, Belgian and Dutch passports. I find this claim dubious but respond, "that's nice."

He then asks my name. When I answer him, he says, "Oh, are you Israeli?" When I say that my parents are he confides, "I have an Israeli passport, too." Which seem farfetched, especially given his recent time in Baghdad and the fact that no one has 6 passports unless they bought most of them. He may have realized because he next screams out, "You know the Israelis are all over Baghdad. The eye in the sky." Whatever the hell that means!

At the risk of being non-PC, may I just add here that there was a very devout Muslim family in the Starbucks when he yelled out this "Eye in the Sky" stuff -- so devout that even the wife's EYES were covered. (like she would have totally passed muster under the Taliban) and they, along with everyone else were STARING and talking about him. (Everyone in the place was pointing and talking quietly, and I can only pray they felt sorry for me, rather than thinking that I am also crazy or somehow was encouraging him to spout this nonsense) I'm sure this family were thrilled to hear this guy screaming about Halliburton, Iraq and Israel's "eye in the sky"! No wonder there's a culture clash -- Canadian/American/Europeans appear to be brash idiots with multiple passports who lie and scream and make no sense.

He then asks how old I am. When I say 36, he responds, "Really? Wow. I'm 36 too!" Like this is an amazing coincidence and we're fated to meet. He follows up with "are you dating anyone?" I of course use my years of experience deflecting crazies and lie and say yes... But that does not deter him.

He starts looking for more things we have in common. (Meanwhile, I am pointedly IMing, emailing and generally trying to seem busy on my laptop, but he doesn't care...)

He asks what countries I have traveled to. My last trip was to Budapest, so I offhandedly, while typing, say "I was recently in Budapest." Of course, he "also has family from Budapest." In fact, "he was just thinking that I look very Hungarian" -- which I am not and do not, by the way. If I had said Alaska, or Zimbabwe, I'm sure he would have had a connection there too.

He then asks where I went to school. I say Brandeis and although he does not claim to have gone there, he does know tons of people who did. He asks if I have attended any synagogues in London. I say that I am not very observant and he says "Oh, neither am I, I was just wondering if you were. I can't believe how much we have in common. Is the guy you're dating in the UK or the US?" Hello, non-sequitir.

This craziness of manufacturing things we have in common goes on and on... and he is SCREAMING about Iraq and Halliburton and Israel and his 9000 passports. And all I want to do is run away. Especially since he has asked for my phone number a number of times now and I know that there is no way I can continue to get out of giving it to him.

I IM a colleague and ask him to call me immediately. He calls me and says "What's going on?" thinking I want to talk about a work issue. I say "You want me back in the office? They moved the deadline up?" (this colleague is nowhere near the office, BTW) He is of course confused so I say, "Ok, I'm just chatting with this guy at Starbucks, but I'll wrap it up and come right in. I'll be there in 20 minutes." Thankfully, my colleague is quick and he understood from my clue what was going on. In fact, he called back a few minutes later to make sure I escaped. I owe him a huge debt of gratitude!

But now I need to find a new Starbucks... I have a feeling Mr. Halliburton United Nations 36 year old Crazy will be back. And he's gonna want my phone number.


At 7:45 AM, Blogger Gavriel said...

Or the company sends you to Baghdad to open up a new market.

Quite a story.

At 2:31 PM, Blogger a13xa9dr1a said...

youre so close minded. You dont give people a chance. Really, this one sounded just dreamy and you let him slip between your fingers. I mean think of it, you could be basking in warm and sunny Baghdad.

At 3:17 PM, Anonymous saus said...

the eye in the sky, that's freaking precious!..

You're pretty funny lol

At 7:06 PM, Anonymous abs said...

you can't let this guy keep you from your favorite starbucks! go back and when he shows up, just tell him you're gay, and since he claims to have so much in common with you, he will of course respond "oh really? i'm gay too," and thus have no excuse for asking for your phone number anymore. :)


Post a Comment

<< Home