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A Man With Great Self-Awareness

The gentleman sitting beside me at Starbucks today had a computer screen that was large enough to block out the sun. He explained: “We just moved here and don’t have Wi-Fi at home yet. My wife took the laptop so I get to be one of THOSE guys today — a Starbucks nerd.”

He Gets Half His Company’s Business From Asking Advice At Starbucks

I call the man the Mayor, because he takes control of any Starbucks he enters and goes around introducing himself to everyone.

His business is creating videos for small businesses. He shows me his new business card and asks what I think of it. His picture is on the front of card. In the photo, he is wearing dark sunglasses and striking a pose that reminded me of Al Pacino in Scarface.

“That’s different,” I tell him.

“I showed it to my partners and they said it didn’t look businesslike. You know what I told them? Good!”

“That’s different too.”

“I’m a street guy,” he says. “I want to be a little different. I want to stand out. I don’t think that’s something you should be afraid of.”

I told him it reminded me of marketing consultant Dan Brown, who advocates doing outrages things. The Mayor’s eyes light up and he asks me to repeat the consultant’s name and writes it down.

“If you’re not being a little outrageous, you’re probably being a lot boring, huh?”

The Mayor stops people as they pass by the table to ask their opinion on his card. I realize he is only using this as pretext to sell his services.

Once he told me that more than half his website business is generated from striking up conversations at Starbucks.

The next day, the Mayor sits down next to me this morning and he instantly begins selling me. He has a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for some herbal concoction that you are supposed to take before you are about to drink heavily to prevent a hangover.

When he sat down, he placed his phone in a little stand so he could use it as a second screen. That struck the attention of a young man with a Mohawk-like splash of red hair. The Mayor told him the cell phone stand doubled as a selfie stick. When the man with the Mohawk praised the idea, the Mayor pull a bunch of the selfie sticks, in their packaging, from his bag.

“I sell them!” the Mayor said. “I’ll give you a deal – two for twenty dollars. How about a blue one for you and a pink one for your wife?”

The Mohawk man bought two. He had no cash, but emailed him the money right there.

“I’ll give you the same deal any time you want,” the Mayor said. “And as a free bonus, I will give you my chair!”

The Mayor was leaving anyway, so he gave up his seat to the Mohawk-man, making it seem like a freebie. As he made his way out the Mayor paused to offer a quick goodbye and slap the back of someone he had talked to earlier.

Always selling, always closing, always a little outrageous.

Thought of the Day: It Takes an Idiot

It takes a village to raise a child. It takes an idiot to let his child walk into public places holding a tambourine.

Blind man’s bluff: he has an eye for the ladies

A blind guy with dark glasses and white cane often comes into this Starbucks, bumping into everyone as he looks for a place to sit. He always settles in next to an attractive woman — even if she’s alone at a large table, he inevitably positions himself no more than two inches from her. And no matter how pressing her deadline, no woman seems able to tell a blind guy she’s too busy to talk. He carries a bongo drum and often asks a woman if he can play it for her.

When she finally leaves, he stumbles into more people until he settles in next to another attractive woman. One time, he sat beside me, struck up a conversation, and learning I was a man extracted himself from it within 45 seconds. I once asked if I could see his bongo drum and he said no, miffed at the request. I wonder if “bongo drum” has a different meaning than I’m aware of given the way he grimaced.

A Phone Call You Don’t Want to Get

At Starbucks, a woman, who works as a private detective, makes a phone call to a client who was given up for adoption many years ago: “I have good news but it’s not good news. I found a picture of your father. But it’s a mug shot.”

Why Did He Throw Her Out the Window?

A pretty black woman, in her late teens, was telling a new acquaintance why she had moved to Los Angeles. “My family is sick with the mental illness and the drugs. You know how my mother died? Her brother tossed her out the window. Three stories up. She landed on her face. I found her.”

The new acquaintance looked shock. “Why did he throw her out the window?”

“I don’t know the backstory!” the black woman said. “That’s what drugs do to you. I knew I had to get away from the sickness, and find a normal, everyday life. That’s why I became an actress.”

I lost a husband and gained a business

“I lost a husband and gained a business.”

The thirty-something woman is telling this to an elderly gentleman, who comes into the Starbucks in his wheelchair. He looks like a withered gremlin, but he is charming and all the women dote on him like an old lion.

She tells him she just started a photography business after separating from her husband. The husband had been out of work for a year before their marriage collapsed.

“That is not a good feeling,” he says in his slight German accent. “It’s uncomfortable for a man.”

“He had no self-esteemed,” she says. “He had knee replacement surgery and he was on drugs. He became a machine, and was not fully there. We were together but I was alone for so long. We lost our connection.”

The husband has moved to Texas. However, he visits often and he still goes on vacations with his former wife and their young children. “We work better as friends than as a couple,” she says. “And a lot of our friends and family don’t even know we’re divorced, because they still see us together. I don’t know how to tell them.”

She tells him about her new business. He tells her he is considering either starting a hot dog stand or becoming a life coach. His sense of humor is dry and it’s hard to tell if he’s joking. During the conversation, several women come up to greet him or hug him. The thirtysomething woman asks what’s new in his life.

“I’m living with a woman now,” he shrugs

She looks surprised. “A nurse?”

“Not a nurse!” he says.

“Does she check your medication?” she asks. “Run errands for you?”

“Sure, if I asked her to,” he replies, cryptically. “She’ll walk the dog. And do other things.”

“So what is she exactly?”

“As you get older,” he says, “you can have a relationship without needing to define it.”

“Yes, you can,” she replies. “Yes, you can.”

I have Anjolina Jolie legs

Yesterday, I mentioned how some woman came up behind me while I was parking my bike and told me, “That’s why you have a good butt and legs.”

Today, at Starbucks, a black woman sitting next to me looked down at my legs and says: “Those are tiny little things.”leggy

I asked what she was referring to. She said: “Those legs of yours. Tiny.” Then she leaned in close and said: “Actually, those are nice legs. Really nice. But they’re girl legs.”

Now I really didn’t know what she meant. She said: “They’re slender and very shapely, like Anjolina Jolie. She’s got great legs, but they’re not really muscular. You could have her legs, except yours are covered with a lot more hair.”

“So I have girl legs?” I said.

She nodded. “And that’s not a bad thing. Some men take it badly when you tell them they have girl legs.”

I am going to start wearing long pants.

No ifs, ands or Butts

As I was chaining up my bike at Starbucks today in the parking lot, a woman came up within six inches of me from behind and said: “That’s why you have a good butt and legs.” I am not often left speechless, but I was on this occasion.

Death by Decolletage

This is a story about enormous breasts and the havoc they cause.

At one of my primary Starbucks, a collection of movie industry folks (and aspiring movie industry) folks sit at the center table. They have dubbed themselves “the bananas” because they are crazy.

The other day the head banana invited me to a dinner with her friends, one of whom was an vibrant actresses in a very, very, very low cut top that she seemed on the verge of popping out of. She was a slender woman, and she explained she had purchased the enormous breasts as a gift to herself after a high-paying role came her way.

“I’ve always felt I was meant to have large breasts,” she told me. “I have a small frame, but in my heart I always felt I should be large breasted.”

I asked if this was done for professional reasons.

“No,” she said. “It was just for me.”

I asked her if people regarded her differently now.

“When I was flat chested, men would actually look me over more obviously,” she said. “Now that my breasts are so large, they get a little uncomfortable looking below the neck.”

“It’s very hard not to look,” said the man next to me. “Very hard.” I was afraid the drool from his mouth would splatter me.
“I don’t mind if men look,” she said, seeming very happy at the idea. “I only mind if they make it obvious they’re looking.”

I could hear the man next to see experiencing whiplash in-between hearing it was okay to look and then his neck snap back in trying not to make it obvious.

And then she added giddily, “And you know, women look too. Which is fine. Because I’m bisexual.”

The man next to me made some vague gurgling sound, and I was afraid he was about to have a heart attack. If so, it would be death by decolletage.