Coffee Shop Chaos: The Story of What Was Almost, Almost a Riot

“Hey there Mr. Funny Man, Mr. I-Can-Do-It-All, Mr. Trying To Steal Everyone’s Girlfriend. Nice acoustic set, except for the fact that your music is sad and whiny and you’re a fool and you’re not gonna steal my girlfriend. I came here to make sure of that.”

“I’m sorry, I’m just here to play music…or at least that’s what I think I’m here for,” answered back the acoustic performer, amused by himself with a cool, confident smile, looking around at all the faces gazing towards him.

A large amount of those in attendance were young, college-aged girls; undergrads. Many were seated around him on the floor, staring up at him dreamily, as if he were a folk hero. Just about all of them giggled whenever he spoke.

“I know what you’re doing. And that “funny” anecdote you told earlier wasn’t even funny at all. There was nothing ironic about what you said. You drove into town and saw a sign and you knew you were here. Whatever.”

“I’m sorry that upset you, I’ll cons–”

“Yeah!” shouted another man, standing up in the back opposite of the room. “I’m gonna have to agree with him.”

“You got your faded jeans and your loafers and you think you’re so deep. It’s nauseating.”

“Boooo!” most of the female audience members shouted in the direction of both hecklers.

“Just get out.”

“Yeah, get out!”

“Well I apologize for–”

“You asked the barrista to “fetch” you a glass of water and so far you’ve only taken one sip,” shouted another heckler, raising their voice a bit louder with every word to overpower the returning boos.

Boos were shouted in all directions. There was no music. There was no order. There was no way he could continue performing until things had settled down.

“Hey hey hey,” the performer said into the microphone. “If you don’t like me or my music, then why not just leave? No one’s keeping you here.”

There was more noise from the crowd. Some people clapped in agreement with the performer, others answered back with curses.

“Awwww piss off!”

“Yeah. Screw you, man. You get out of here! Don’t tell me to leave!”

The room was hostile and in a complete stir. There was no manager or anyone who could mitigate the commotion. One man in the back of the room took off his shirt. He immediately put it back on.

“I’m OK.”

A gentleman, older than most members of the crowd, who was sitting quietly, raised his hand to say something. He looked as though he could be a professor at a nearby university.

“Yes. Hey everyone, everyone let’s hear what this man has to say. Ok? And then can I get back to the music, please?”

“No!”

The older gentleman spoke,”I have perfect pitch and the break you took earlier to tune your guitar was completely unnecessary.”

“Yeah!” a bunch of men in the crowd cheered.

“You dropped your low E just so you could raise it back up again, and tell another one of your ridiculous, unironic stories in the process,” he said, looking back to the first heckler who had pointed out the lack of irony in the performer’s stories; giving his endorsement to the younger man’s statement.

“I came in for a relaxing afternoon cup of tea, and what I’m witnessing here is sickening.”

There were more boos from the men and even more boos in response from the defending women.

Admist all the chaos and disruption, one young woman spoke up.

“You told me to come here and see your show. You said that you would really really like for me to hear you play when we met earlier out on the street. You said I should stick around and hang out afterwards. How many other girls did you tell that to?” she said, sounding upset.

“He said that same thing me!”

“And me.”

“I saw this jerk walking around all over town with his guitar earlier today. What did no one have a puppy for you to borrow as well?” a man shouted.

“I came to play music. This is a paid gig. There is no greater conspiracy happening,” the performer responded indignantly.

There were more boos. Just about all boos. Even most the women now. If anyone was still left on his side, they weren’t letting it be known.

“Is everyone in this town crazy? Why is everyone such a fucking asshole?”

“Booooooo!”

“See, he’s not that deep! He’s not the caring sensitive type. He’s a phoney!”

“Booooo!”

“Awww fuck you. Fuck all of you,” he said, placing his guitar back in it’s case. Someone pelted him in the ribs with a scone; there was no telling who threw it at this point.

He grabbed the mic stand and amp with his other hand and walked towards the exit, towards the parking lot with cables dragging the whole way there. He was in a hurry to get out.

He received constant harassment the entire trip over.

Standing at his station wagon, he checked over to make sure he had everything.

“The tuner!” he said out loud to himself.

He thought to go back in and grab it, but when he turned to look back, there were dozens of faces looking out at him angrily from the window; many giving him the finger.

“Forget it,” he said, opening the door and climbing into the driver’s seat.

As he rolled out the parking lot, the crowd poured out to cheer his departure.

He looked in the rear view window, and returned the finger for everyone.

“Back at you,” he said to himself.

It was another town to cross off his list.

He was leaving definitely.

Accomplish or Die Trying

I think my big problem is that I’ve never accomplished anything, and everyone knows it. I meet people and it’s like “Hey, nice to meet you. I do stuff but none if it matters to me or anyone.” I feel as though I’d be a better, more respectable person if I had an accomplishment under my belt.

So I went out on a walk in search of things to accomplish.

All you can eat buffet? Is that supposed to be a challenge? Ha! I heard that joke on a sitcom before. Not the most helpful thought, but as I continued walking on, it got me thinking about TV and movies and the kinds of things I’ve seen there. How about a bank robbery and a get away!?


Nah. I figured I’d need a shotgun and a mask and at least some knowledge of the bank schedule.

It was a big and ambitious enough idea, but too much planning would be needed.


What I needed was to like win a marathon and get a medal and have my face in the newspaper. Unfortunately, there’s thousands of other runners in marathons, and it’s their course, and you have to be there on time when they say so. And also I don’t run and I don’t have running shoes, so I’d likely not come in first place. But something of that caliber I’d be happy to accomplish, for sure.


I decided on more walking and more thinking. I looked around my neighborhood. Maybe I could teach one of these people’s kids how to ride a bike and they can then grow to be in the X-Games?!?

Too long term. I want something more instant.


So many things happening, so little to accomplish. All the houses and fences and bushes, they had nothing for me. So I kept on walking and walking until I saw a man installing an AC unit. I thought, there’s something to do.

“Hey, you need any help? You need someone to hand you your tools or anything?”


“No, I’m fine. Thank you though. ”


“Would you like a bottle of water or something?”


“Sure, I’ll take a bottle of water.”

I then turned around to go home. I had only wandered about a quarter of a mile; so there, back home, back there, and when I finally returned home for good, it would add up to be about a mile I walked.

“I’ll be 1/26th complete with my marathon,” I joked out loud to myself.

When I did arrive home, I was troubled to find out that I didn’t have anymore water bottles left.


“Oh no! I must’ve ran out!” I gasped.

Would I carry a glass of water from my home all the way back to the house with the man installing the AC unit? I had to. I had a goal—a mission to bring that man some water. Failure to do so would be another accomplishment unfulfilled.


Walking back with the glass of water was great pressure and required a stressful amount of focus. I had to make sure the water didn’t spill. I had to look out for cracks and bumps in the sidewalk so that I didn’t trip. I had to resist the temptation to drink the water myself—all that walking got me thirsty too!

By the time I returned to the house, the worker was standing in the front lawn with his tools, speaking to the homeowner. It looked like they were finishing up business.


“Thank God! A minute longer and I would’ve missed you!” I shouted from from the other side of the street, walking a bit quicker to sooner complete my mission. I was at the finish line and about to score myself an accomplishment.

“Here you go sir, I got you that water.”


“What’s going on here?” the homeowner asked, sounding a bit bothered.


“This man offered me water.“


“This man?”


“Yeah. I thought he came from inside the house. I thought he was like your brother or cousin or husband or friend or something.”


“No. I don’t know this man. Who are you?”


“Im here to bring this man some water. Here, I got the water for you.”

“Yeah, but who are you?” asked the homeowner once again, more aggressively this time.


“I’m leaving now,” the AC unit man announced. “I’m getting in my van. That glass will just spill all over so you can keep it, I don’t wanna take your glass anyways. I’m not sure what’s going on here anymore but I’m heading out.”


“Alright seeya.”


“Seeya.”

I was standing there with a glass of water in my hand and the homeowner right there as well. I pivoted my body to be facing them more directly.


“Would you like this glass of water?”


“Are you off the meds or something? Is someone looking for you? Is there something I could do to help?”

“You can accept this water.”

“OK.”

I handed the homeowner the water and said “goodbye.” I turned and began walking back home. When I turned onto the next street, I looked back down the block and saw the homeowner was still standing in their front yard, looking perplexed. On the last of my walk, I started reflecting on all that had had just happened, and it came as shocking news to me, that after all of that, I hadn’t accomplished anything.

I was supposed to give the AC man a bottle of water. Instead, I brought him a glass, which he didn’t accept; the homeowner has my glass now, they weren’t even apart of the plan; my plan initially was to accomplish something worthy of talking about at parties…And after all my walking and effort, I ended up with one less drinking glass in my cabinet…I came out at a loss. I failed big time.

I got back into my kitchen and sat down at the table.

“FUCK!”