At the Starbuck’s across the street from the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, getting something hot and addicting.
This place is crowded. Big time. The interesting thing is that the line to order is not as long as the line to pick up. This barrista is S.L.O.W. (See also snail-like)
I pay and shuffle down to wait and find that an interesting thing is going on. There is an old guy there, waiting for his coffee with the rest. As he waited, he was gesturing at anyone who made eye contact and pointied out baseball facts.
“Babe Ruth was the first payer ever to hit 60 home-runs in a season. You know when? 1927!” Each sentence was a gravelly, point with his finger at the, more or less, trapped listeners.
The funny thing was, in that section of Hollywood at that time of day, 90% of those waiting for their coffee were tourists. Two couples were talking quietly in Japanese, and a group of 5 was speaking German.
The coffee staff behind the counter eyed him warily. I had seen that kind of look before, They were waiting for an explosion.Perhaps he was a regular oddball and they knew him.
“Name one player even in the realm of a Babe Ruth?”
I recognize my cue when I hear it. As luck would have it, he looked right at me after he spoke. I don’t really know old school baseball players, but I can bullshit pretty well.
“FUCKING TY COBB?!?! The coffee he had sipped dribbled down his chin. “TY COBB WAS A RACIST BASTARD!”
Now I see why the staff was edgy.
“Tom?” The nervous voice of authority behind the counter, manager I’m assuming. His tone is that of “Oh shit, not again.”
The old guy spins around. “NO! DON’T GIVE ME THAT SHIT!” He flings an accusatory finger in my direction. “TY FUCKING COBB!” He is shaking with how worked up he is. He glares at me for a long moment and I wonder if I am about to be assaulted by some old guy in the middle of Hollywood.
And then its over. The old guy clutches his coffee close to his chest and begins stomping out.
At the front door a massive guy, six and half footer, easily 300 pounds, has just entered and takes a half step to the side, completely engrossed in a text on his phone.
“OPEN THE GOD-DAMNED DOOR!” The old guy snarls as he gets there.
The big guy is so shocked, he says nothing and just opens the door.
And off he goes.
I love baseball.