It’s early morning. You stumble off the metro, navigate two busy crosswalks, a slew of metal sidewalk grates (heels, people), and finally find yourself safely ensconced inside your favorite deli to pick up your morning joe.
And then you are held up from that sweet morning nectar by “That” Person. The one who jumps in front of you and takes up the entire coffee station. Because his/her coffee is more important than the rules and order of society.
This person will not only jump in front of you, they will then slow their roll to a crawl. Suddenly, they’re not in a hurry anymore. Where once they were a bulldozer of trailing trench coats, briefcases, gym bag, lunch box, now that they are master of the coffee station, they are leisurely.
Hmmm, so many choices are available to That Person. Does our erstwhile friend want European Roast this morning or Medium Roast? You are tempted to tap them on the shoulder and suggest decaf.
What about the sweetener options? Sugar? Equal? Splenda? And then there’s creamer – will That Person choose half-and-half? Whole milk? Judging by That Person’s expanding waistline, you’d think it would be the skim milk, but no, That Person will dump half of the half-and-half AND half of the skim milk into their steaming coffee.
You continue to wait, checking your watch.
Tentatively, now that That Person seems to have moved down to the coffee and sweetener section of the counter, you reach for a cup, but lo! That Person has not yet relinquished control of the coffee station!
Now That Person is confronted by a whole new conundrum – coffee accessories. The sweetener and creamer must be stirred and that requires one of those teeny tiny thin red straws or wooden stick thingies. But those are back near the cups! This requires some sideways shuffling. The cup is now too hot to handle. But the heat sleeves are back near the cups! More shuffling. Oh, and a lid! A lid will be needed! Again, back near the cups. With every tentative step you take towards the coffee station, That Person will side step into you.
Best to just hang back. Wait. Your boss will totally understand why you are late.
The That Person tornado has finally moved away from the station, which is now covered in coffee, creamer and sweetener. It appears that That Person ripped the sweetener packets from the middle, sending grains flying. Oh, and there’s That Person’s coffee stirrer, just resting in a pool of coffee detritus, inches away from the trash opening.
And what’s this? The thermoses that used to contain half-and-half and skim milk are empty? But you won’t find this out until you have tipped the thermoses completely over, sending their half-screwed lids into your coffee cup.
Not surprisingly, considering That Person’s slow pace, That Person is still trying to pay for their coffee when you reach the register. There will be much digging around, attempting to locate exact change in various bags and purses, which is fine, we all like exact change. Unless there are other people behind you. Then, exact change is an enemy and threat to society.
That Person will also want to talk to the cashier – about the price of the coffee, what the price used to be, the geopolitical factors that are driving up the cost of coffee beans worldwide, whatever happened to that other cashier person, remember when this used to be a XYZ. And, so on.
After paying, That Person will stay at the register. They will not be rushed. At this point, all their bags are now on the counter in front of the register. They need to put all the things they took out of their bags while looking for exact change back into their proper places. This will include business cards and other random pieces of paper, which they will then be compelled to look at and ascertain whether in fact they need that credit card receipt from the magazine stand three weeks ago. Discussion about said purchase will naturally follow.
That Person is completely unaware of your need to pay for your coffee and get on with the damn day.
Finally, That Person will have put everything back in their bags and moved out of the way, but only a bit. They need to locate their work badge or their keys before leaving the deli. And what about their receipt for the coffee? Did they get their receipt? After all, they’ll need that receipt in about three weeks as a conversation starter at another deli register.
I really should go back to making my coffee at home. At least then I could be That Person sloshing coffee all over everyone on the metro.
People of America: Don’t be That Person.