Guess My Coffee – A Cafe Calamity

Guess My Coffee – A Cafe Calamity

It’s Monday morning and I’m nursing a hangover as I walk into a café in East Vic Park. Now I’m not going to mention the name of the café, not because I don’t want to give credit to competitors, but because I would like to do my best to distance myself from it and the people who work there. I wander blearily through the doors and decline a seat from the painfully cheery waitress and mumble something about a takeaway coffee. I stumble over to the counter and wait my turn behind a young woman, dressed for work. The young Barista looks up and shoots her the kind of smile saved by the confident for the young and attractive women. Most of you will know the one I’m talking about, the slight curl of the mouth, the curious eyes that the onlooker might mistake for flirtation. I can’t help but draw an unflattering comparison between this confident, young barista and my bleary eyed, dishevelled self, man I hate this guy.

The hipster barista flicks his hair away from his bespectacled face with one tattooed hand and asks for her order. The young woman pauses. Now I can’t see her face but the slight bend of her knee suggests that she may be playing a very similar game. I hate this guy! She too moves her hand to her hair, “Guess!” My eyes are up, it’s not often you get to see a love story unfold before 8am.

The Barista, let’s call him Romeo, doesn’t hesitate “Guess? Okay, but if I do, you have to give me your number”. What? How have we got here? You’ve pushed it too far buddy. I envisage the manager coming over and firing him on the spot, putting some order back into the world. To my own inward devastation the woman, whom in my head I know only as Juliet, giggles and agrees.

“Let me see” Romeo ponders as he looks her up and down, barely hiding his approval, “Smart suit, cute smile, is that a faded club stamp on your wrist or a tattoo? So you had a good weekend… and a gym bag as well interesting… Career woman, take care of yourself but you like to have fun… I’m gonna say…” I have now given up any pretence of doing anything else, I am clinging onto Romeo’s every word, he’s all in, the moment of truth, let’s see you worm your way out of this one. “Soy, Flat white, extra shot one sugar” I’m looking directly at Romeo now, waiting for this to blow up gloriously in his face. I shift my gaze to the back Juliet’s head and wait for what seems like an eternity but must have only been half a second…

“No sugar” she giggles. NO…. WAY! There is no… Romeo turns to make the drink under the adoring eye of our Juliet. She turns slightly and I see that as I expected, she is attractive. “How did you do that?”

“Well you do this long enough and you notice the signs, you learn to read people, you know you can tell a lot about a person from their coffee order…” He turns back with the drink and grabs a sugar. “I said no…” Romeo smiles and hands her the sugar, the Juliet giggles and accepts it. My instant dislike is now battling with a begrudging respect. Juliet hands over her number and floats out of the café.
I’m up, Romeo turns to me, smile gone, “What do you want?” Now I don’t know if it was jealousy of him, disappointment with the way the world treats the non-attractive non-females in this world or just the hangover but in an instant, any hint of respect was gone. No, Romeo, I am going to expose you. It’s a trick, you saw her order before, you can’t do that. Well mate your luck has run out!

“Guess!” I thought. In my head I spat those words with such venom that he Romeo would have done well to stay standing, so no one was as surprised as me to hear the “Wow, that was amazing, how did you do that?”, come on brain, get with the programme. Romeo was clearly taken aback to find out that the unkempt ogre in ripped jeans and converse had been listening in to the subtle to and fro of his wooing. In my defence, any man who still uses the word wooing could probably do with some guidance. He politely gave me the same spiel about reading people and experience, but it felt somehow less heartfelt than before. “Well” I said, sure I could win him over “how about you do me?” Romeo’s face conveyed a special mix of confusion and fear. Realising what I had said I quickly shouted “Don’t do me, not like… I mean… Guess my coffee!”

This kind of bumbling awkwardness, that is considered attractive and endearing in so many English, ‘Four Weddings’ type films, seemed to scare Romeo. But he obliged, I feel now more out of fear for his safety and an overwhelming desire to get rid of me. He quickly looked me up and down, as I did my best to make sure he noticed my scruffy smart appearance complete with battered leather shoulder bag and converse, in the vain hope that he would take me for a bohemian writer type marching to the beat of my own drum. “Long Mac?” I did my best to hide the disappointment on my face. In a sudden moment of clarity my mind replayed the last 2 minutes and with a slightly sweatier and panicked take on Hugh Grant-like embarrassment ordered my double espresso and glared desperately at my phone while I waited for my coffee.
I don’t know whether Romeo does possess some magical powers of observation or if that was a lucky guess. I’m not even sure if he chose right or if Juliet was just so taken with our hero’s charm and confidence that she convinced herself he was right. What this does prove though, is that I should not be allowed to talk to people until I’ve had my morning coffee.

Bobby Deuchar

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