Re: Cafe Decorum

Dear cafe patrons, if you are in a completely full cafe and there are over 3 people waiting for a table, wrap it up. It’s common courtesy. It’s your job to be aware of the dynamics surrounding you. I get it. I too hate to leave my table. I am the type of patron who will claim a table, plant a flag, and never leave. But I’m here to work. You are on the phone. Being rude. You should leave. The buzzer has dinged. Your time is up. Take a hint from the girl standing next to your table.

It’s the dance of the cafe patrons. It poses several questions about the politics of a cafe. When is it your turn to leave? Are you overstaying your visit? How obvious can I be that I want your table? I tend to take a passive aggressive approach. I will stand directly next to your table without making eye contact, looking out the window, waiting for you to leave. Some people may deem this behavior excessive. They’re probably right. Perhaps I shouldn’t make you feel awkward to the point of discomfort, until you leave. Sorry

In my defense, I will only do this if you are selfishly taking up a table. As in, you have finished your meal or beverage and are merely sitting on the phone, taking up space. I will not stand next to you if you are an ‘active’ customer. As in, you are still eating food or drinking coffee. Or if you have kids. Your life is tough enough. Or if you are writing. Because then I know you are in it for the long haul, and you are working. Or if you are reading, I will not bother you.

But don’t be that person who acts like you are leaving, only to take your phone out of your purse. And sit there. Then you have made me hopeful. And then you have dashed my hopes. Be aware that in that moment, I will resent you deeply.

Then in accordance with the laws of cafe patrons, everything will change. Half the patrons will clear out. I have just been the victim of arriving 2 minutes too early. But too late for the rest of you. I have stared each of you down. Someone has left. I have achieved victory. This is my table.

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