The Ramblings of Madmen

The setting of our fair tale.

It had been a long time since I’d been to Cafe Coco. The last time I went was soon after I returned from England, and, re-acclimating to driving in the U.S., I gave a couple pedestrians some heart attacks when I nearly bowled them over. Long story. So, combined with a mad rush to avoid having my car clamped for illegally parking somewhere, I kind of wrote Cafe Coco off as The Place Where Pedestrians Are Run Down Like In Highlander, and hadn’t returned.

But then it came time to meet up with a friend of mine, and, since the cute barista I could never talk to was gone from the 21st Avenue Starbucks, I decided to mix it up a bit.

The cafe is in a two-story house off Ellington Parkway, just down the street from Baptist Hospital and Centennial Park. The street’s a pretty cool area, a hodgepodge hookah bars, sushi places, steak places, and a Tea Party-affiliated bookstore. (I walk by the place and tend to hiss.)

By virtue of being near Vanderbilt and the Park, it attracts a wide variety of people. I’ve seen everyone from Hasidim to Ed Hardy-bedecked club-goers there. And now, I understand just what a “wide and diverse clientele” means.

See, I showed up a little earlier than I’d intended. Luckily, I brought my handy-dandy European Carry-All and a book I’m reading for a review. So I went inside, ordered a coffee from the bartender, and went back outside to the porch. I can deal with humidity, as long as there’s something to keep my mind off of it. If nothing else, The Dewey Decimal System is engrossing enough to keep me from thinking about all of the water I’m sweating out of my body.

So I sat down in a chair on the porch, cracked open the book, and started reading. That didn’t last long.

Behind me, there was a group of guys in their late twenties. One of them talked much louder than the others. He was the sort of broadcasting-type of person who is really, really enthusiastic about every day minutiae. And it was at this point that the crazy really started.

Continue reading