Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Curmudgeon vs. Button-Pusher

I visited my favorite little coffee shop in town this morning. It's a place I like to go to just sit and people watch, talk about the news with whoever is sitting at the counter reading the paper, and to meet a friend now and then. Plus, they know my name, although one of the women forgot not too long ago and referred to me as "that woman with the spiky hair." Fine--at least they still hire me to design their menus, which makes me proud every time I see them stacked on the tables between the salt and pepper.

This morning, there were two men with the paper. Really, man #1 was reading, and man #2 was looking over his shoulder. I would have crowded in, but man #1 didn't look all that friendly.

Man #1 is someone I've never seen there before. He was just north of middle age and hadn't shaved. We'll call him Curmudgeon Man. Man #2 is a regular, even more so than I. He moved here from Manhattan recently--I think it was because of a woman--and he is a very accomplished guitarist. He's known as Broadway, but we'll call him Button-Pusher Man.

So, out of the blue, Button-Pusher Man says to Curmudgeon Man, "do you follow professional sports?" It seemed to be an uncomfortable question, like the kind they teach you in evangelism classess--like saying to someone you don't know, "are you interested in spiritual things?"

Curmudgeon Man looks up from the paper and his coffee and grunts a "N0. You?" Hooked, just what Button-Pusher Man was looking for. He replied, and I quote, "Sports are the carcinigen to the intellect and the arts in this society." I think that might be the equivalent to an evangelist saying something like, "well then let me give you some good news."

Curmudgeon Man said in his detached gravelly voice, "Don't get me started on the arts." Hooked again. Button-Pusher got this grin I haven't seen since Scarlet O'Hara flashed dimples at poor unsuspecting Mr. Kennedy. Curmudgeon didn't want to pursue a conversation, but Button-Pusher wouldn't let go of the bone. He proceeded to evangelize masterfully about the importance of the arts. Curmudgeon kept feeding him with butt-on-the-bar-stool comments like, "PBS is a complete waste of money."

Button-Pusher practically pulled a tract from his breast pocket and talked about all of the great and informative programs he had seen on PBS, and to reach out to Curmudgeon on a personal level, even talked about programs about Ohio that were so helpful to someone like himself who wasn't an Ohio native.

There were no converts this morning at the coffee shop, and I suspect there wasn't even a planted seed, but there was sure some lively discussion for a people-watcher like myself to witness. And Button-Pusher got to hone his witnessing skills.

2 comments:

Ms. Mac said...

Once, in a coffee shop like you, I witnessed a heated conversation. The most notable ting about it was not the topic matter but the fact that it was one man having a heated discussion with himself.

It's day like that that I wish I had a real grasp of Swiss German.

Rob7534 said...

HA! I love this post, well done!