Business has been slow.
The only product I have moved has been two copies of the café journal. One went by mail order to a previous customer, the fellow who keeps our computers running, but since he didn’t add anything for postage, I lost a few pennies on that one. The other went to a fellow in the café from the Horn of Africa, another repeat buyer. He didn’t have cash with him and since I was leaving and didn’t want to see if I could manage to get my Square to work, I left it with him on credit.
Which reminds me, my niece hasn’t paid me yet.
In other news…
1.) J. Russell Peltz’s Thirty Dollars and a Cut Eye, which I line-edited, has been honored as boxing-book-of-the-year by the West Coast Boxing Hall of Fame. I kvell with pride.
2.) I suppose the major development is my business’s forced relocation – not that customers won’t be able to find me. On most mornings I find my favorite table at the café occupied by a fellow who sleeps in a doorway up the street and his half-dozen duffel bags and bed roll. He likes the table because of its proximity to an outlet where he can recharge his various pieces of electronic equipment. This has forced me to a table to its east and leaves me facing east at the counter and him staring south at my profile.
One morning, out of nowhere, he accused me of staring at him – and called me an “old geezer.” I told him I was not starting at him and if he wanted to talk to me again, he should be polite. When I left later that morning, he was standing outside. I walked to my car and stood for a moment gazing down Shattuck Ave. at the blue sky, the street, and feeling how wonderful it was to be in Berkeley. Only then I realized he was in my line of vision, though 50-feet away. By the time I was inside, he was at my passenger side window shouting indecipherably at me.
I mulled this over for 24-hours. I decided I would say, “We seem to have gotten off on the wrong foot yesterday. If I do anything that disturbs you, tell me and I will stop.” Then I will offer a fist bump.
So the next morning, I began, “We seem…” At which point he put a hand over each ear and said, “I can’t hear you!” I continued gamely on. He said, “If you don’t leave me alone, I will call the cops.” Well, I thought, if he is going to call the cops, it must mean he is more afraid of me than I am of him. That seemed a good sign. I decided to skip the fist bump.
At which point, this intrusive – and paranoid – Russian woman regular said, “What is going on?”
“Mind your own business!” I said.
The rest of the morning was non-eventful. But the next day, when I pulled into my parking space, he came running out of his sleeping space to call me an old geezer. Then he ran back. Before I had walked around to the trunk and retrieved my shoulder bag, he had run out twice more, called me an old geezer, and run back.
I walked to the café wondering if (a) he had already been there and was out on a smoking break or (b) had been evicted – and blamed me. When I arrived, the table was free, and I took it. About 15 minutes later, he arrived and took the table to my left.
Neither he, nor I – nor the Russian woman – have spoken to each other since.
Business has been slow.