There was a man-in a cowboy hat- asleep in my coffee…read more
I like this café. I come here a lot. The service is seamless, fluid. They serve every kind of coffee you can imagine and they sneer at tea drinkers-what’s not to like. Except today was d-i-f-f-e-r-e-n-t.
I always have a cappuccino, my name is just a coincidence. I never drink a latte-well would you if you were me?
We were sitting at a table. It’s busy enough that you can never get the same table. We’d ordered. Nothing out of the ordinary yet. I could hear the milk being frothed in the background. All perfectly normal.
The waitress came over and put the coffee down. I didn’t pay much attention. We were mid conversation. It was just a quick acknowledgement and the waitress was gone again. It was uneventful. I always have one sugar in my cappuccino.
They are one of those shops with the sugar in an open jar-never sure whether that’s more or less wasteful than a little paper sachet. The sugar at the bottom is often hard and they must have to just throw that away fairly often. Anyways (which is not a proper word-it should never have an ‘s’), I loaded the spoon with the sweet brown crystals and was steering it towards the cappuccino when just left of the chocolate sprinkles I saw-him.
There was a man asleep in my coffee! In a cowboy hat!
I know! Never happens. There was a man-in a cowboy hat- asleep in my coffee. The hat was covering his head which must have been resting on the smooth, white, porcelain rim. His torso was poking out while his bottom half was nested in frothy milk. A kind of dairy duvet scenario. He was snuggled down in silky, smooth, soft cow’s milk, full cream as well. Don’t believe in the skinny stuff myself.
My hand stopped dead. I mean just stopped dead, midway between the sugar jar and the coffee. After all, who wants to be sprinkled in sugar while they sleep (you’re right- there’s probably a website).
I just stared. My hand hovering. Just hovering in mid air with a loaded spoon, like a plane who’s pilot has just realised the engine have failed-only less dramatic because it was only a spoonful of sugar. Thank goodness for all that yoga that made that sugar spoon stillness so possible
I looked across at my friend and nodded towards my coffee. She looked at it. At first she couldn’t see it. But I made her look again.
We nodded together and I whispered, ‘There’s a man asleep in my coffee’. He might have been only the circumference of a coffee cup tall, but he was asleep. In my coffee!
We looked at each other. Panic crossed both of our faces. This had never happened to either of us before, anywhere, ever and I have drunk a lot of coffee.
‘I’ll search it, on the internet’ she said. And she did.
‘Nothing’ she whispered ‘only people falling asleep when robbing coffee shops.’
‘Common? That’s so common it comes up on a search?’
She nodded. Our stress levels were through the roof by now. The internet did not have an answer. I repeat, the internet did not have an answer!!!!
What exactly is 21st century etiquette when a café serves you coffee that has a man asleep in it.
‘Try tea’ I said. Still nothing.
Could it get any worse?????
It got worse!!!! He-started-to-snore. It was low level at first, just a kind of small humming sound. But then he started sucking in milk and it got messy. Really messy. This is why dairy duvets will never take off. This is why sprinkling chocolate granules on someone who is sleeping is a bad idea-it gets messy. Really messy-I have said it twice now, but just for emphasis-here it is a third time-really messy.
I looked at my friend. She looked at me. No one else seemed to notice. There was foam flying everywhere and the air in the cafe seemed laced with the faint whiff of chocolate sprinkles. There was a continuous low level breathing and snorting. NO ONE NOTICED!!!! I checked all my social media feeds, NO ONE HAD NOTICED!!!!
The waitress came over. ‘Is everything OK?’ she said, calmly, serenely. She had failed to notice the life changing event happening before us as well.
My friend and I looked at each other. We were both thinking the same thing. We will only get through this if we both pretend it’s not happening. We both nodded. ‘Yep Ok’ slipped off both our tongues simultaneously. Snap. We both went red. She looked at us, not at my coffee, not at my table. She-looked-at-us. It was like it wasn’t happening on her planet.
Embarrassed. We sat there. Hoping she would notice. Hoping she wouldn’t notice.
Hoping someone would notice. Hoping no one would notice. Hoping what-that he might sink into my coffee and drown, or leap up out of it and –and what???? Either way you can’t drink a coffee when someone has slept in it. Can you? I mean can you????
My friend positively skulled her coffee as I searched desperately for a fiver and enough change to cover the cost. Posh shop ‘n all this one.
We both got up and got the hell out of there. Leaving him there asleep, my coffee untouched. A spoon of sugar spilled all over the table and the money in a sloppy pile. The faint whiff of sprinkles swirling in the café air, we barged through the café door, elbowing someone else out of the way and started walking away as fast as we could.
Read next week and see what happens next…