07 April, 2007

Gypsy lady you odd bird you

Gypsy folk freak me out. Not just because of their transient lifestyle, but also because of their odd persona's and innate disability to communicate to those of us who are not of the gypsy class. Even more so, people who seem like they should be gypsy folk but who I can't quite tell also freak me out. That said, Friday night was a dandy in terms of normal/odd customer ratio. Let me preface this by saying it's a holiday weekend and a Friday night, so things were going to be slow. Slow and, of course, interesting.

Now back to Gypsies. About halfway through my evening a woman walks in with a black head wrap and these odd sandals I've never seen before. She was wrapped in a large knit blanket, the kind log cabin homemakers throw over their couches and never think about again. She swayed back and forth slowly and had those large round eyes that either convey absolute mental vacancy or a deep thoughtfulness. Hers surely displayed the former.

After consulting the menu for a minute, she wanted to know if we had internet access. I replied that yes, you could get on the internet for free with a laptop, and that we also have a computer to use for $0.25 a minute. She seemed put off that it's $0.25 a minute, but that's not my price to decide so whatever.

She kind of swayed a bit, stared out the back door, then at the menu, all without saying anything and then asked how late I was open as if she didn't care in the least. She probably didn't, but whatever.

"Ten," I replied. "I'll be here until ten. Can I get you anything?"

She eyed the bananas and then asked if I could give her change to make a phone call. At this point I realized she wasn't going to be spending any money here. I'm not sure she even had a wallet in which to keep money what with that giant shawl of hers. I didn't really want her hanging around anymore since she was starting to creep me out, so I gave her change for a five.

As I was opening the register, she stepped around the counter, moving directly next to me and blocking my exit from behind the counter. This made me feel decidedly awkward, but I figured if she was intent on robbing the joint so long as she didn't pull a gun I could take her. I pulled out the change.

When handing her the change, she stretched out the bills between her fingers like a little hammock and held them out for the quarters, instead of her hand. I didn't get what she was doing at first so I held the change outward in my hand. She looked up at me and back at the dollars, which the then motioned toward me. I figured okay, she's just a little off, so I put the change in the dollar bill hammock.

She asked if I knew where there was 'good lodging' in the area for 'someone like me', and I replied that I did not. What the hell is that supposed to mean, anyway? She looked like a leper, but a bit too healthy and still posesing all her limbs. At this point I really wanted her to leave, as she was making me very uncomfortable. Clearly she wasn't going to buy anything, just ask me questions and sway back and forth.

So she made toward the door, but didn't quite make it. She plopped down in one of the chairs next to the front window and started chatting with a girl in the adjacent chair. The girl told her something about how Catholic churches are always open and you can sleep on the pews; I couldn't really tell when she said.

Anyway the woman leaves the shop, wrapping herself in her gypsy blanket to avoid the cold.

Not a minute later she returned. She timidly stepped to the counter again and asked if I might supply her with more change, this time for a dollar. I looked in the register and there were two rolls of quarters, so I figured why not if it will get her to go away.

So I put out my hand for the dollar and she jumps back. I left my hand there, but she put the dollar on the counter next to me.

So she sets down the dollar, I pick it up. I open the register and take out four quarters, deposit the dollar, and close the register. Then I hold out the change to drop in her hand. She jumps back about two feet. I hold my hand out further. What the fuck is wrong with this woman, I think. She's a bit of a freak, it seems.

She nods at the counter. I give her a quizzical look.

"The counter," she says.

The Counter? Okay...

"I'll just take it off the counter," she says.

Nut job

I sit the change on the counter and she eagerly retrieves it, making sure to count it. Yeah, all four quarter were there. No problem.

Then she asks me where the nearest pay phone is. Please go away I'm thinking. Please oh please go away you're seriously off.

"I don't know. Try Market Street," I say.

But that's where I came from... she trails off. She sways a bit more. She eyes the bananas, then the menu for a third time. Still vacant, she leaves the shop.

Let me tell you something. There is never a lack of interesting customers, even when there are barely any customers. Something always seems to make my evening when I'm working at the coffee shop. I guess that's what happens when you work in the middle of a major city right off of a large arterial street.

3 Comments:

Blogger S'orlok Reaves said...

Really, really amazing. It's a shame your coffee shop doesn't have program awards.

This is the kind of internship a Phsych. major should have...

PS: I am now taking those absurb CAPTCHAs you force us to endure and treating them as acronyms. Today's is:

gtflori = Greene thought France lacked only Rhode Island.

1:01 PM, April 07, 2007  
Blogger Jessica said...

See, that's the type of patron you convince to stick around until the shop closes, simply for entertainment purposes.

3:27 PM, April 09, 2007  
Blogger Drew said...

Fuckin' gypsies, man. My guess is that she was trying to flimflam, but didn't have enough experience/skill to put one over on you. Not that you would fall victim to a seasoned gypsy flimflam artist.

9:23 AM, April 14, 2007  

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