Next to the Blue Mountains is a roastery

I come here on Monday afternoons because my favorite coffee haunt is closed, but truth be told, they make a very good cup of coffee at this place, which I suppose one can achieve when one has roasted the beans that very morning. This place also has the benefit of sitting at the foothills of the Blue Mountains, so if one cares to say, type on one’s laptop outside, on say, an overcast day in which one can actually read one’s screen, one can take in the beauty of snowcapped moutains, even in July.

Walla Walla, February 2010There is a downside, namely a professor from one of the town’s institutions of higher learning who tends to date his students. He does that lean in too close to gauge your reaction thing that pushy people do. I mean, this is never directed to me, of course, given that he seems to focus on people other than fat, nearing-middle-age men who wear wedding bands. I feel like I’ve dodged a bullet, I suppose. But he absolutely flees my presence whenever I show up. I’ve never said one word to him, though I’ve heard several of his conversations with coeds. One time, at the start of the fall semester, a newly minted alum sat across from him, at the table next to me.

“I’m so glad we waited,” she cooed, not nearly enough under her breath.

“I’m so glad you’re here.” He has, it goes without saying, unwavering eye contact. Their hands were mere inches from each other, teasing at touching.

“Summer took so long,” she said, and I felt a shudder of uncomfortableness go through me. “But it’s so worth it.”

“You packed everything,” he asked. My mind, against my will, flashed to a pill container of ecstasy, some bright pink rope, and a French maid’s outfit. I cursed myself for forgoing my iPod that day. I would have listened to anything to drown them out: metalhead, steampunk. Slam poetry. And I really detest slam poetry.

Before I was an unwilling witness to this grotesquery of a dating lead-in, he didn’t really notice me if we were in the same space. But since then, he has absolutely fled the room when I come in, or if I’m somewhere ahead of him, he doesn’t stay for long. I wonder if I’ve raised one too many eyebrows or if he realized I was disgusted by his machinations with the barely-legal set. I don’t speak to him, so I don’t know.

A few months ago I decided to conduct a decidedly not scientific experiment to see if maybe we were just two ill-timed ships attempting to pass in the night, like the Andrea Doria and the Stockholm. Well, that didn’t go so well, I suppose. But, I thought, perhaps this was just a schedule conflict. And seeing as I have this amazingly flexible schedule, well, why not sneak a peek into some kind of insight?

I have thus showed up at the roastery at 11am, noon, 1pm, and 2pm. And each time I come in, if he’s here before me or comes in after, he stays an average of 14 minutes and then skeedaddles. Sometimes he’s had to gulp down his beverage, other times he seemed to be blithely carrying on, typing into his laptop or grading papers. But in each case, he was gone, usually less than a quarter hour later.

I’m not sure what this is about. I don’t think of myself as an intimidating figure, in my Merrel sneakers and comfortable hoodie that continually proclaims “Capitol Hill”, confusing anyone from that Seattle neighborhood. (It’s for the other Capitol Hill, FYI.) Maybe he’s embarrassed that I heard him that day, which means he knows what he’s doing is wrong. Or perhaps I’m just so handsome he figures he has no chance with a pretty girl if I’m even in his vicinty, and the idea that he’s cock-fighting with me nearly drives me into peals of hysterical laughter.

Anyway, he’s around so often when I’m writing that I’m a little concerned he’s going to make it into one of my stories, or that sexual predatory-ness will become some kind of unconscious theme in my work, and then people will be wondering about me, not him.

And then, at long last, the terrorists will have won. Damn it.

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5 Comments on “Next to the Blue Mountains is a roastery”

  1. Alexis
    March 3, 2010 at 8:33 am #

    Hmm, you know I think you should go sit with him next time you go in and see him there. “Hi! I see you here a lot. My name’s Ev, figured I’d introduce myself since we seem to be bumping into each other all the time. You work at the university with my wife, right?”

    I’d like to find out if that would simply make his head explode or what. Lemme know how that works out 😉

  2. evmaroon
    March 4, 2010 at 11:14 am #

    Gee, Alexis, I wonder why I haven’t done that already? I’M NOT GOING TO DO THAT.

    • Alexis
      March 4, 2010 at 11:16 am #

      Well. You’re no fun at all.

  3. hurlburt
    March 30, 2011 at 2:14 pm #

    Okay, so you’re not going to accost this person with a big, toothy grin. Do you think you could distill or package whatever it is that makes them flee the premises? Because that might be worth money.

    • evmaroon
      March 30, 2011 at 2:41 pm #

      Well, whatever I had, it’s gone now. He just stays put when I’m around.

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