Culver City Observer -

Sweet and Spicy

Do You Think I Was Rude?


January 21, 2016

Most people like to be liked. No one wants to be thought of as rude. Whether you’re being rude, it’s like beauty; it must be in the eye of the beholder, don’t you think?

Wait till you hear my story. I’m so interested in what you think.

I was in a small local café. I like the place; I like the coffee, it’s primo. I like the décor, the color scheme, the ambiance. It feels right.

I’m sitting there quietly reading. To my left a couple of people are silently playing chess with a timer. To my right there are about six or seven people lining the tables against the wall. It’s a gorgeous day, sunny and sweet.

And my head starts pounding.

I never get headaches (well, almost never). I’m slowly becoming aware that two men are talking loudly, very loudly, a couple of tables away. I can no longer hear myself read, or even think. The voices sound nice enough; they’re just loud. I’m thinking about how men’s voices are louder than women’s voices. I’m guessing they’re not even aware of how loud their voices are.

There are two tables between me and them. I turn to the guy next to me, and ask, “Do you think it would be ok if I ask those guys to talk a little lower?” He thinks it’s fine.

So I walk over to the two guys, and I say, “Hi! Is it ok to talk to you?” They nod. I say, “I’m so sorry to interrupt you. I’m sure you don’t realize it, but your voices are really loud. It’s such a small place, and your voices are amplified through the room. Would it be ok to ask if you would lower your voices a little? I’m sorry to ask”

They were surprised. They seemed nice, said they hadn’t realized, and agreed. I said thank you.

I went back to my table and my reading.

Suddenly this guy two tables away is shouting at me: “What’s wrong with you? Did you INSIST those two guys go outside just so you could have quiet? Where do you get off insisting they leave?”

I couldn’t even answer him because he kept shouting at me.

I just stared at him. I was about to say I hadn’t asked them to leave, when a tall man loomed up right in front of me.

“Hi, I’m the manager. DID YOU tell those men to go outside so you could go on with whatever you were doing?”

“No, of course not. I would never do that.”

Meanwhile, yelling guy is still ranting at me. The manager kept accusing me of things I didn’t do. Now I had to explain to the manager that I didn’t do what he was accusing me of, absolutely not.

While talking to the manager I realized the other guy was still screaming, literally. I asked the manager, “I understand you think I did something bad, but I didn’t do that. On the other hand, that guy there – (I didn’t know his name, so I called him “that bald guy”, a shorthand description I felt sorry to use, but the only way I could think to describe him quickly while the manager and the guy, both, were still shouting at me.)

“You may think I was rude, but what about the bald guy? He is still shouting, loudly, at me. I’m a customer here, too – what are you going to do about his shouting at me? (the guy was still shouting).

Manager said nothing. He just told me, “I might have to invite you to enjoy one of the other cafes nearby” if I did that again. That is, the thing which I never did.

My meter was up; I had to put in more money. I closed what I was reading, got my things together, Outside, the two guys I’d spoken to were sitting at a table. Should I or shouldn’t I? I wondered if it would be doubling down if I spoke to them again. I decided I should.

“Hi, is it ok to talk to you just for a minute?”

“Sure” they said, not so confidently.

“I’d like to apologize. I certainly didn’t mean to be rude. I hope you didn’t feel you had to go outside because of me.”

They seemed to have zero reaction. They were polite, seemed clueless about who I was.

I continued to grovel, just to see how far I could take it.

“Well I really didn’t mean anything, and hope I didn’t offend you in any way.”

Smiles, no reaction.

I left.

Walking away, holding my coffee in a takeaway cup, I realized I didn’t want to drink it. The encounter left a bitter taste in my mouth, literally. I really like being in that café, yet I doubted I’d go back anytime soon. I’m not a coward, but who wanted to deal with that manager again? Or with bald guy.

Dear readers, do you think I was rude? I’d love to know what you think.

Please write to me and let me know. Was I rude?


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