This morning, I stopped into my local Starbucks for a small coffee -- or a smalli or twall or whatever the hell they insist on calling it -- and there was some shit goin' down. As I walked through the doors, there was some sort of awkward disturbence happening in the seating area where the hipster doofus crowd hangs out with their laptops and newspapers.
I stood in line just 6 feet away and watched as a timid, pint-sized barista girl tried in vain to get a panhandler to stop pestering the customers and leave the premises. But this guy wasn't really listening. Or more accurately, he wasn't hearing. He was one of those deaf and mentally challenged guys who gives you the little card with all the sign language on it and then just stands there like a creep until you give him money. Unfortunately, they don't tell you the sign for "fuck off and leave me alone" on that card, and some of them just don't respond to the universally accepted middle finger.
For the record, I run into the deaf-card people fairly often because there's a school for the deaf in my neighbourhood. The vast majority of these students are polite and totally harmless, and choose NOT to beg strangers for money. But sometimes you get a dude who just doesn't roll that way. But listen, I've got no beef with deaf retards and I am one myself from time to time, so don't send hate mail.
So there's two affluent (and annoying) fashionista moms in the corner with their designer babies, and these bitches are freaking out cuz the panhandler guy is "harrassing" them and "endangering" their precious Guccified offspring. The tiny little barista girl has the daunting task of trying to eject a 300-pound manchild from her workplace, which I think is a lot to ask in exchange for six bucks an hour. The panhandler is getting all edgy and waving his hands around and making "mwuuuh naaah nuh nuuuh" noises and it's all quite fun to watch, but someone's gonna lose an eye.
I tend to believe that calm communication can diffuse a tense situation like this, but in the absence of communication, I find actions do just fine. So I walked up to the panhandler, made eye contact with him, flipped open my cell phone and began dialing. I dialed my friend Mark's number, but that's not the point. I calmy and politely told the panhandler "I'm calling the police, sir. No wants want any trouble."
He handed me a card, nodded, and immediately walked out the door. Because he's just broke, not stupid. I also suspect he may not be entirely deaf, or he's awesome at lip-reading, because he took off at a mighty impressive speed for a fat guy who couldn't communicate with anyone until the word "police" was mentioned.
The elite douchebag moms were all thank-yous and la-dee-dahs and "OMG wasn't that crazy??" and I found them so fucking insufferable that I actually regretted helping them out. The wee barista was so happy and relieved that she gave me a free coffee. Venti! That's italian for "extra grateful"!
Meanwhile, a really confused Mark is still on the phone saying "WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON???" and I say "Oh sorry man, just trying to get rid of a retard. Call ya right back..."
Mark: "I thought you broke up with that guy."
When I leave the cafe, the panhandler is just around the corner, pestering new hordes of people who brush past him and pretend he's not there. I stopped and gave him all the change in my pocket and my coffee. He refused the coffee, but kept the cash. He gave me a huge semi-toothless grin. I told him to stay the hell away from Starbucks cuz yuppies are trouble. As I walked away, he called out to me:
"NO MO SNARBUCK!!"