Yo, Bucko, Window Hog – vacate my space!

The Leaside Observer

My mood was cantankerous. Cranky. Crotchety. Quarrelsome, even. I was walking down Bayview trying to find a café or restaurant to sit down, secure my coffee fix and get to work. I had urgent, important things to do, don’t you know.

I was on my second pass of the street and becoming increasingly frustrated. Had it been summer, there would be no issue. I’d plunk myself down in Rahier’s patio. Done. Not today, though. Today was an uncooperative winter’s day. I had to be inside. But one thing stood in the way of me un-crotchetyfying myself: The Window Hog.

Yeah, we all know the type. The ones who grab the best seat in the joint – the front window. Then they order one coffee and nurse it for three hours while they “work” or “create.” Seeing them spread out, you’d think they were either a captain of industry or writing the sequel to The Great Gatsby. There are the special pens and special coloured pencils and special notebooks. Sometimes, if they’re really important, they have a laptop AND a tablet…with a keyboard.

And so it was on this day that the Window Hogs were out in full force.

Starbucks: Window Hog. Pâtisserie La Cigogne: Window Hog. Sophie’s: Two tables, twin Window Hogs. I’d finally had enough. I decided to take matters into my own hands. Yep, time to get passive aggressive. I made my way to Millwood and stood right outside my favourite –Lit Coffee. Just three feet and a sheet of glass between me and their Window Hog. This one was a young guy. A Hipster Dude, with big over-the-ear headphones perched on his head over a knit cap. He had the nice note pads. Japanese-made ones. And a fountain pen. With a leather case, no less. All the cool stuff. Probably writing a blog about all the wisdom he’s gained in 27 years of life. Or worse, a poem. Pfft. 

I could write a poem. It starts with, “Get out of my window seat, before I bleep bleep bleep.…” Wait. On his screen…that’s no poem. A Late Night show video clip? Kimmel? You gotta be kidding me. Kimmel isn’t even that funny. By this point, I’m lost in the moment and practically pressed against the glass like a kid at a donut shop window begging for free Day-Olds.

Hipster Dude becomes aware of me and looks over his shoulder, slowly turning his laptop away. Easy, Buddy. It’s just Kimmel. Your secret’s safe with me. He gives his head a little shake as if to say “What are you doing?” I break out my usual go-to: the trusty squinty smile. Then tap my imaginary watch and give a little shrug. This is universally understood communication. It needs no translation and works in any language. If this action were to be verbalized, it would be heard as, “Oh hey there, pal, how much longer are you going to be?” But everyone also knows, there’s the subtitled version: “Yo, Bucko, tick-tock, time to beat it, skedaddle, get lost already.”

Hipster Dude could obviously understand subtitles, because he begins packing up his junk. Of course, he has to take his time and make the point that it was his idea to leave. Hey, we all have to win in our little ways. And he milked it good, too. It took at least 30 seconds just to put away the damned fountain pen. By this point, I’m inside and doing the “hover” – hanging by the table to mark my territory. I cheerily say, “Thanks!” He says nothing and leaves his empty coffee mug on the table. Yep, you won, pal.

I put my coat on the chair so no one gets any ideas. Then I order my coffee and oatmeal cookie and sit down.

Finally. I crack my laptop and take a sip of my Flat White as the screen comes to life.

Ahhh. Much better. Time to get serious now. No poems or goofy clips or fluff for me. The keyboard clacks, as I get down to business.…

I was feeling cantankerous. Cranky.  Crotchety. Quarrelsome, even.

Along with being co-founder of advertising agency Grip Limited, and partner in ManleyUnderwear.com, David Crichton has won numerous awards for his writing, including a Kitchener-Waterloo Kiwanis Club Silver Trophy, in Grade 7.