Get out of my face, Pierre!
What the hell is it with Europeans and their TOTAL lack of comprehension of the concept of personal space?
I am at the Starbucks just down the street from LAX Airport.
Across the street is the hotel that a HUGE amount of International travelers stay at when they come to Los Angeles.
So the Starbucks is full of foreigners.
Don’t worry, I mean that in the most friendly bigoted manner possible.
Its a Saturday, so the line in one of the smaller yet busier Starbucks around stretches out the door and down the sidewalk.
With the heatwave putting it in the mid 80’s at 9am, the back of the line has that vague European BO smell that is quaint when you are sipping wine across the street from the Moulin Rouge in Paris but is just plain nasty in the States.
Its not until I get about six feet from the cashier that the uncomfortable begins.
The line passes by the pastry case on purpose, so you have maximum opportunity to buy overpriced, unhealthy pastries.
And that’s when Pierre shows up.
“Excuse me.” A heavily accented elbow shoves its way in front of me as the vaguely smelly guy leans in to check out the pastries and box lunches.
The second time his elbow brushed my nuts as he leaned over to pick up a box lunch, I began to be a little worried.
I don’t need any new friends.
However, as he prowled over the display case and just kind of fondled a 6 foot section of the line, 2 things became apparent.
First, Pierre is nearsighted. He has to be. Anyone that has to lean in that far to check out a cheese danish either can’t see it or has a weird European fetish.
Which I find hard to believe, mainly because he is not from Japan. Which, as we all know, is where all freakish fetishes come from. (Check the internet, this is accurate.)
Second, Pierre has no concept of personal space. At all. Like not even a bit.
I immediately put my hands into my pockets.
Mainly because I don’t want Pierre to mistake my front pockets as available for his use too, but also to resist the temptation to check him heavily into the pastry case.
Old hockey habits die hard.
The other International issue that comes to mind is Europeans and smoking.
The USA in general and California specifically is anti smoking.
It is still big business in the USA and MASSIVE big business in the rest of the world.
Addiction, go figure.
This Starbucks is one of the smaller ones inside, but it has 5 times the amount of seating outside in the patio.
But the patio is the smoking lounge.
So much so, that when there is no one out there, the area still reeks of smoke.
Like a house that has burned down, the smell lingers.
And this morning, it is full of vaguely smelly, chain smoking people with no concept of personal space.
I am not a violent man.
I am a short, chubby man, so violence was never a smart hobby to cultivate.
But if I was talking to someone how decided to stand with their face 6 inches from mine and exhale a full cloud of smoke into my face, my parents would have to mortgage the house to hire Johnny Cockran for the murder trial.
Smokers never seem to think anyone notices.
I bought a used car awhile back and the first thing I noticed was the smoke smell in the car.
“So who is the smoker? You or your husband?” I asked the woman selling the car as her husband went to get paperwork.
“Oh, can you smell that?” She looked shocked. “I only smoke sometimes, my husband doesn’t even know.”
That line is a stupid as it is naive.
Trust me, he knows, sweetie.
We all do.
Back to the Starbucks.
The interior of Starbucks is smoke free and air conditioned, so once the caffeine kicks in, I am good.
The visual thru the window into the patio is disturbing, but its a lot like being at the zoo and looking thr4u the 6 inch thick glass at the gorillas. Its safe and gives your mind the impression that its ok to stare.
I will stop short of making the “Staring at the dumb animals” comment, but only because I want to go back to Paris again and I think that sets a bad mental precedent.
Vive le France!