I generally consider myself to be a fairly easy-going guy. I’m about as high-strung as an unsprung bungee cord; rated to handle even the heaviest loads without snapping. And in my line of “work” this is undoubtedly an excellent trait to posses. Sometimes though, I do get into situations where the load rating is beyond the manufacturer’s recommended guidelines.
I paid a shitty latte’s worth of rent on a booth with an outlet nearby at a local chain coffee shop. The wifi here sucks more than a roomba programmed by Cyberdine, with the latte itself running a close second. Still, I figure, it’s a fair trade for the illusion of ambiance and a clear head to crank out some words. Too bad that wasn’t to be.
Shortly after setting up shop and getting my fingers primed to tap out English, a couple of evangelical christians in their late teens/early 20’s decide to take up residence a couple of tables away and have an obnoxiously, deliberately loud conversation about Jesus, the supernatural, prayer, and related subjects.
Whatever, I think. I’m easy like Sunday morning and I support free speech even more than I do the other 9 amendments in the Bill of Rights (especially the one about not having to let soldiers crash at my house, which I know would fucking suck having been one myself; nasty bastards).
So music is my anti-christ, and I queue up a playlist of Dethklok songs, to drown the twits out so I can think. Yes, death metal (or even a tongue-in-cheek tribute to it) is less distracting than the babble of people infected with the jesus meme.
Unfortunately, the black noise isn’t enough to overpower the bulk of those turkeys’ gobbling. Fortunately, a glare or two over my shoulder in their direction and they relocated a few tables away. All’s good in the hood, as they say (and by “they” I don’t mean anyone in particular you goddamn racist).
The ironic thing about this is that even Christ didn’t want his followers making a big public show of their religion. Matthew 6:6 reads: But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. (King James Version)
Whatever. While enduring all of this and trying to make some headway on the book, I had to deal with the additional aggravation of the shop’s wifi signal going in and out on me. To me, this was worse than the knucklehead christicans, as I at least had the option of sacrificing my hearing to drown those bastards out. But every time the connection would drop, not only could I not save what written (since I’m using Google Docs) and research the odd factoid, but the damn music I was streaming would cut out. So I’d go from thundering guitars and cookie-monster vocals* (about coffee, oddly enough), to “…well what Jesus really wanted was for true Justice!“. It was like I was a battlefield detainee and Andy Kauffman’s zombie had been hired by a Gitmo interrogation squad to DJ directly into my head so I’d admit I once picked up a hitch-hiking Khalid Sheikh Mohammed on the way to the gym.
When the coffee ran out I decided to pack it in and head home. (I’ve actually been finishing this up from my living room, since the “ironic thing” paragraph.) Now as an avowed “Dick”, I was obligated to say something, to someone. My first inclination was obviously towards the Hitler Youth Twins, to make some kind of snarky request that would call their attention to the obnoxious volume of their conversation. But when I thought about it, that was unnecessary. I’d already glared at them, they’d moved a few tables over, and it most likely wasn’t their fault they were unable to overcome being groomed from birth as douchebags. I guess I could have insulted their parents, but I don’t think that even Harlan Ellison could have come up with an appropriately brief rebuke in that situation that would have, at the very least, still maintained some sort of dignity on his part.
Besides, I wouldn’t have gotten through to them anyway and more than likely would have just made the employees there uncomfortable. Seeing as I’m often at that coffee shop to burn a cigar and watch the sunset, and that I enjoy my coffee without extra helpings of counter grime and roach parts, the logical and productive choice was to bring up the shitty wifi connection instead. Which I did, only to find out that they’ve got fucking bandwidth filters that choke streaming content because of assholes coming in to play online games.
As I sit here wrapping this up, I genuinely don’t regret not** saying something to the Vienna Sausage Choir. But I do regret paying for that shitty latte.
*Credit: Brian Posehn
**Double negative, I know. Deal with it.