Monday, May 14, 2007

Pink Straps, Yellow Specs and the Coffee Shop


“Yes, pink,” he said strongly, somewhat annoyed. “I really don’t care if they’re pink – they do the job.”

I looked up nonchalantly from Dr. Seuss’s Yurtle the Turtle and spotted the man who had been sitting at the table next to me with his wife. He was bent over on the sidewalk in front of the coffee shop, adjusting his bright pink reflective Velcro bicycle pant strap thingamajigs.

He was about sixty-years-old and had a kind face and neatly combed brown hair. He was wearing a nice collared shirt with jeans – an appropriately casual outfit for a Sunday morning coffee and newspaper outing.

The bicycling man and his wife had given me their table in the sun, and they were very sweet about it. They even asked me about my Dr. Seuss book, and I told them that I was a preschool teacher, researching for a lesson.

“They’re still pink,” said a long gray curly-haired, weathered looking man with yellow tinted hippy glasses. He was about the same age as Mr. Pink Straps, and he, also, was sitting at a table on the sidewalk with his wife. I couldn’t help but notice him when I first arrived at the coffee shop, because the hipster and his upturned nosed wife cut in front of me in line before I was able to give the girl my coffee order.

Not a laugh, chuckle or even a smile followed his judgment. The comment was piercing and there seemed to be, from what I overheard, no particular reason why he would care about the color of the other man’s protective cycling safety device.

“Oh Dear, he was just making an observation,” whispered Pinky’s wife with a smile as she mounted her bicycle that had been chained to the fence behind me. She, however, gave a subtle giggle, and I could sense that she thought the banter between the two men was slightly comedic.

As Pink Straps mounted his bicycle and began to slowly follow his wife down the street, I wondered to myself how long their conversation would last; if they just let it go, or further analyzed the, what appeared to be, rude comment.

I peered over at Yellow Specs and he scowled, rolled his eyes and continued reading his newspaper. I then couldn’t help but try to analyze the situation myself…

I’ve been to that coffee shop many times during the week, and the clientele ranges from students on their laptops, clicking away at their projects, to young hippies with their dreadlocks reading paperbacks on the velour couches. I’ve seen nothing but warm smiling faces, and have actually had a few nice conversations with strangers at tables next to me.

Sunday was different. It seemed that the demographic had changed – that the overflow from a “certain neighborhood” (I’ll rename it “Apple River”) had chosen to come to my neighborhood coffee shop.

And as bad as I feel about stereotyping in this instance, I wasn’t too happy with the results of the change.

Pleasant man and wife take bike ride to coffee shop on sunny Mother’s Day morning. Hoity toity judgmental couple visit same coffee shop, cut in front of me in line and make snide comment to said pleasant man. Necessary? You be the judge.

I hope I run into Yellow Specs again next Sunday because I will be wearing one flip flop on one foot and one cowboy boot on the other. Jeans under a fancy dress and snowboarding goggles on my head.

Because that, my friends, will be snide comment worthy.


oddmix said...

Did you run into yellow specs yesterday? Were you wearing your planned ensemble?

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