I take my coffee black, like the night

Every night the same routine, over and over again, with very little variation. This is my life. I stop on my way to work and get coffee at the same place. They know my order and we do not have to even speak.

Tonight was different.

My town has a few vagrants and one of them was in the coffee shop, sitting by himself. He was ranting and raving, loudly and to no one in particular. He is normally not like this, so I am guessing that he was off his medication or having a bad reaction to a new one. He did not seem drunk, just out of his mind. I know most of the vagrants in my town on a nodding as hello relationship. I keep strange hours and I am waiting at the bus/train station where they will often be able to rest unmolested by law enforcement. Some nights, like tonight, they will sit in the coffee shop. The workers in the coffee shop tolerate them but not when they are ranting and raving. I only saw one worker, and he was visibly distressed by what was happening. I placed my order and while he prepared it I attempted to calm the lunatic down.

He did not recognize me and I interrupted his stream of consciousness angry rant by agreeing with him that Coca Cola was indeed superior to Pepsi Cola but I infuriated him by suggesting that coffee or water is a preferable beverage. I am a terrible peace maker. His love of Coca Cola was deep enough that he got up from his seat yelling “Those are fighting words” and I fully expected him to fight for his right to drink it. He actually poked me in the chest. I looked at his finger, looked him in the eye and asked him “Really?” I joked that this would make a great hidden camera television commercial. Our argument cooled down when I explained to him that I can see the future, and the night was not going to end well for him if he continued on the path that he was on. He even apologized for poking me.

I understand his anger. The feeling like no one cares. People passing him by on their way to wherever they are going and doing their best to pretend to not notice him. The anger that builds up inside until it feels like your heart or your brain is about to explode. I care about him. I do not want the coffee shop worker to call the police. I want for the night to be more pleasant for him than that. I think he knows that now. At least, I hope so. I hope that after I left he did not go right back to yelling into the darkness.

I had a mail processing machine that I had to run or I would have stayed.