I ratted out the Angry Old Man today. He’s in his mid-80s, and his wife a few years older. He comes into the Starbucks on Allot and Ventura and leans over his cane as he glowers at anyone sitting at the table reserved for elderly and disabled people.
Once when I was sitting at that table, I saw him peering at me and asked if he and his wife would like me to move.
“You were raised well!” he declared. “I’ve often had encounters here with people who weren’t raised as well.”
Today, he had one such encounter. The man sitting at the table was a 40-year-old computer programmer. When the Angry Old Man and his wife approached, the programmer tried to gather up his things, but apparently not quick enough. The man tried to explain he was shutting down the program on his computer and it would take a minute.
“You shouldn’t be sitting here,” the Angry Old Man said.
“Anyone is allowed to sit here if there’s no one waiting for it.”
“Perhaps you need to need to speak to my cane,” the Angry Old Man said, gripping the handle in a threatening manner.
“Calm down. You don’t want to end up in jail.”
“I think we’re BOTH going to end up in jail! today”
“You’re crazy,” the computer programmer as he made his way off.
The Angry Old Man sat down, delighted, and struck up a conversation with the person beside him, who, ironically, was a computer salesman.
“I know nothing about computers!” the Angry Old Man said. “I just push the buttons and hope something happens.”
“Well, you just have to -”
“Enough!” the Angry Old Man said, cutting him off. “Enough talking to me. You go back to work.” He said this with the same tone that Ebenezer Scrooge might well address Bob Cratchit for taking too long to sharpen a pencil.
A barista came over and told the Angry Old Man he couldn’t threaten people. That made the Angry Old Man even angrier.
“This is my table,” he said. “He needed to move.”
“He was moving,” she replied. “He did move.”
“Not fast enough,” he told her.
After the Angry Old Man left, the barista asked people if they had seen the incident. “I am writing a report,” she said. “I can’t have him here. He threatens everyone all the time. He chases all the customers away.”
I told her the Angry Old Man had chased away the previous customers by threatening him with his cane. She gasped and asked me if I would be a witness, and I put down my name and phone number on her report.
So the next time I see the Angry Old Man, I expect to encounter the business side of his cane.