I am a huge fan of mediocre coffee, and by that I mean I am a huge fan of the strange people who congregate at places with mediocre coffee. Going to diners with mediocre coffee is probably right behind day drinking and right before watching America’s Next Top Model on my list of fav things to do. Just being honest.
On Monday, I met up with a friend at my favorite overpriced 24-hour diner in the valley, the one I grew up going to with my dad after seeing midnight movies. My friend was eight minutes late, I was two early. I sat down and ordered coffee, because at $2.85 I wanted hella refills #age23 #broke.
Behind me to the right, or to the SouthEast of my shoulder, or at 4:30 on a 12-hour clock, there was a table filled with small persian business men in suits with their collective attention turned towards a confident gray-haired hulking version of Richard Branson. The group was having a serious and hushed meeting. It had a tone of an executor delving out the will of a very wealthy man to his six sons who all had nice suits, bad posture, and were presumably all drinking mediocre coffee.
Three minutes in, an older white man and a 30-something hispanic man sit at the booth in front of me. I would file them in the “unlikely friends” category. The older white man either likes to make an entrance, or has bad knees, (both?) so he stood at the edge of one side of the booth and plopped into his seat. Like some straight up timberrrr shit. At this point they have my full attention, and the executor people could go screw themselves in the way that only happens when it comes to divvying up the financial resources of a relation at a diner.
The old man starts to survey the place, sighs, and says “I remember coming here with my grandma in 1958.” He then waves over the female night manager and whisper yells “Hey coach, come here!” The man’s stoic 30-something friend flashed an obligatory smile if only to acknowledge the existence of the lady he was being introduced to.
Turns out Lucy, the night manager at the shitty diner, was an assistant college volleyball coach for 20-years tossed out of the industry because ageism kicks in after two decades of never being where the promotion is. Turns out the stoic fellow was a professional baseball player who got injured and was trying to make his back into the league. The most depressing conversation about the nature of athletics ensued, followed by the two men ordering slices of coconut cream pie, iced water and mediocre coffee.
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