Stopping into Starbucks for some fun work — a project, as opposed to the normal “work until you’re finished or until you die” deadline, I assumed I’d be less high-strung and be able to relax a little. Apparently I was wrong.
I took the middle of three tables in the corner. I typically take the corner table because there are outlets to the right against the wall (which no one ever seems to realize), and one between it and the middle table, but today it’s occupied. This is an issue for me because typically, if someone else takes the corner table, they’re oblivious to the hidden wall outlet and hog the one between tables, as is the case today.
Sure I could mention it to the current occupant, but how does one even broach the subject? Especially coming from one like myself, who never says anything the way it sounds in my head. I’d think, “Hi! Would it be okay if you switched to that outlet on the other side, which is even closer for you, to free up this one for myself and others?” but it would instead come out, “Excuse me? Hi. Are you selfish, blind, or just plain stupid?” I know, I know. I don’t plan to do that. It just happens. Especially at Comicon for some reason. This is why I try to limit social interactions 100% of the time.
So I sat quietly contemplating, watching my computer’s battery drain and drain … and drain, but my attention was pulled away to the table on my left.
To my left sat a quirky thirty-something Asian man who was not a fashionable bloke, but his leg was crossed over the other like a proper lady. Lacking an outlet, undoubtedly watching his own laptop’s life dwindle through his thick and black-framed glasses, the man clicked a few selections on his laptop, picked up his phone, and dialed. When his call connected he asked the other party how many rooms they had in their hotel. He verbally confirmed the number, thanked the receptionist, and hung up. He repeated this step every 3-5 minutes for a half-hour.
Meanwhile, back on the right, the outlet hog remained. She had her own laptop, which she barely looked at or touched in the last half hour. Instead, she fiddled with her phone, (also plugged in), and unflinchingly stared into it. Even when she glanced at her computer screen, her iphone never left her hand. She bit a nail, looking on intently. Whatever she was doing couldn’t possibly be as important as she was making it out to be. Personally, I imagined it to be quite boring, and I was about to go back to my own business when something peculiar catches my eye …
One glance to the floor revealed to me that the 50-something business casual woman was wearing the ugliest sandals I had ever seen. Let me put this into perspective for you: if all of the world’s footwear was suddenly destroyed in some sort of footwear rapture, and all that was left were these … these things on her feet, and Crocs? You’d see me wear Crocs for the first time ever. Or I’d just cut my feet off. I figure I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.
But the most disturbing part about this situation is that these sandals must have cost a fortune. Aside from her beautifully painted toenails that can only be describes as waves in the ocean at a sunny day at the beach (they were really quite remarkable), the shoe leather was studded and arranged with care, as though by hand.
But despite these finer attributes, a much greater problem arose from this footwear. The strip that traveled up between her first two toes looked like a row of over-buttered, un-popped popcorn kernels, but when looking at the big picture — her foot and the footwear — it looked like an incurable skin disease. Part of me wondered how much she paid for such monstrosities. The other part of me hoped it was a terrible disease, and that she would drain to death before my laptop did …
Meanwhile, the little Asian man stopped making his phone calls. Whether for business or sick hotel room fetish pleasure, he must have found the answers he sought.
In the meantime, another person came in and sat at the first table — a familiar looking woman. I may have gone to high school with her. Or perhaps college. Maybe we worked together at some point. Regardless of my connection to this new stranger, she, too, must have been eyeing that corner outlet and waiting for her moment to strike.
The aroma of coffee intensified at that moment. It was intoxicating, as was the mistrust in the air between us four, the stereotypical “doing work at Starbucks for everyone to see” people.
And then we played the waiting game …
Two hours later …
My Mac Book died before she did. It was epic. I was finishing up some work when it was time for a Skype audition. The actor had just messaged me to make sure I was ready to receive his call. I was, but just as I went to respond — FADE OUT.
I went and purchased another mocha — gotta keep the place afloat, ya know? — and when I came back, it was time to take the ultimate introvert plunge.
Me: “Hi. Can I plug in?”
Me: ” … ”
I fumbled with the cord and plugged in. Okay, so that wasn’t so bad. But it was still awkward. I avoided her little piggies like the plague. I’ve been trying to sneak a pic for hours, but she darts me a glance every time I angle my phone anywhere near her, as though to say “my feet!”
Starbucks closes soon. Bravo to her for snatching up the corner table and hoarding it for hours on end. That’s my job. Fuck, I need an office.
Congratulations, Outlet Hog. You earned this victory. You won the race by a disgusting foot. Two, actually.
J = 0, Outlet Hog = 1
=============== UPDATE ===============
I snapped a pic without her realizing it. J ties up the score:
J = 1, Outlet Hot = 1