I’m all for striking up conversations with strangers at coffee shops. It’s very European.

But what I got ensnared in at Tully’s this afternoon was far from a stimulating conversation. I had gone to the Tully’s on top of Queen Anne to do some reading, writing and procrastinating. I didn’t get anything done, even the procrastinating. 

My first mistake was sitting at the communal table. My second mistake was taking a stretch and looking away from the computer screen. That interlude was an invitation for the older gentleman across from the table to start talking to me.

It started innocently enough. He talked about some op-ed he read in the New York Times. Then he buttered me up with some compliments about how I looked like I enjoyed thinking. And then … he went off. The table had become his pulpit. It was no more a conversation than saying that talking to your dog is a conversation. It was a self-absorbed soliloquy. About the current political climate. About Fascism. Neo-Fascism. About Nazism. About neo-Nazism. He dropped references about Hegel and Nietzsche. The Germanic psyche. Junk bonds entered the lecture at some point. So did Michael Milkin and Ted Turner. The sub-prime mortgage. World War I. World War II.

This guy was a piece of work. Laughed at his own inane jokes. At some point I just tuned out. Obviously, I was just the latest fool to be duped into a “conversation” with the guy. I was on the verge of telling him that I didn’t want to be lectured and that I had to leave. Thankfully, a homeless guy on the street tapped on the window and pointed to my dog, who was chewing her leash. Sadie, you are a genius. I made as quick an exit as I could and bolted out of there.

Sadie had chewed the leash almost all the way through. So we crossed the street to get her another leash. I wasn’t even upset that I had to spend $18 on another one.

You’ve been warned. Next time, I’m going to one of the other 15 coffee shops on Queen Anne. And wearing headphones.

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