Monday, April 9, 2007

Espresso Bar Stories

As is most public places people meet and strange meetings happen.

Last month we had a drunk. Not the first drunk ever off course, but this was a special one.
The look? Leather jacket, greasy black hair, 45 years, drunk. The smell? Alcohol.

It was a saturday afternoon 2 o'clock and he was polite when he ordered 'a coffee'. I was a bit afraid of having him at the big table with the other customers, and that was the direction he walked up to. Luckily his chosen chair was a couple feet away from the others and he kept his mouth shut. Because of this man's peaceful glow i was not really afraid for any bad things to happen, but you never know.
Ten minutes later he waggles, with a half cup and a cigarette in his mouth corner, back towards me and the bar, sits down and asks if we do not sell anything alcoholic? "No". At this part of the bar it is not allowed to smoke, but it didn't want to argue so i allow him to do so.
Then he finishes his cup and he comes at the cashing, gets a 2 euro piece out of his pocket and asks : "Can i ask you a question?" I am curious about what's going to happen. "Yes, off course"
"Can you tell me where i am now?" he asks.
I give this question a small thought, while i see a couple of other people following my conversation with this odd man. As far as i could judge this man and his question i answer : "You are in Antwerp, Belgium", which seems to be the right answer. "Antwerp?!" he yells, meanwhile almost losing his balance.
So, i ask him, since i noticed from the first second on he was dutch : "Where you from, Amsterdam?" "Yes," he said, not even wondering how i guessed it right. "You want to go back to Amsterdam now?" was my next question? "Yes, yes," he stumbles.
So i tell him, if he needs to get to the train station, how to walk. It's a very easy walk from us to (the most beautiful) train station (of the world).
"Oh yes, well thank you," he answers, waves his arm and walks zig zag his way out.

People all thought this was great fun after all and i could go back to my usual routine of orders, espressi, small take, jazz, iced cold tea's and other Saturday rituals.

(photo by Thomas Hawk)

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