This afternoon, I went to my favorite cafe on Valencia Street. It has some good armchairs and floor lamps. They play no music. When I order tea, they give it to me in a diminutive pot along with a cup, a tiny pitcher for milk, and a wee spoon. All this they put on a little oval tray. The cafe is attached to a bookstore. It is clearly a cafe for people who want to read. I thank them for it.
Today, the chair I chose was facing and fairly proximate to the bathroom--not in a "last row of the airplane" unpleasant way, just in a "hard to ignore the bathroom line" way. Generally, to access the bathroom, you must fetch a key from the front counter. Today, however, the door was not firmly closed, such that when cafe-novice would-be bathroom users approached, they could quite simply push the door open and walk in.
Unfortunately, when the system is meant to involve a key, and there is a sign explaining this on the bathroom door, to go into the bathroom without the key is to have a false sense of security. Really, you are open to a sudden and embarrassing encounter with someone who does have the key.
For a long while, people came in and out without incident, each letting the door fall mostly, though not entirely, closed behind them, essentially perpetuating the perilous situation indefinitely. I worried about it for about an hour and remained ever-vigilant. Finally, someone came out and pulled the door closed--click--behind him and I was able to relinquish my self-appointed role of Bathroom Door Guardian.
Everything about this episode strikes me as terribly telling about my character. I am not altogether pleased.
And now, to make me seem even worse, a small screed
Aside from this one, every other cafe on Valencia, of which there are seemingly hundreds, seems primarily designed for you to come with your colleague and a variety of electronic devices and talk loudly about your business plan for hours on end. Everyone else will have their earbuds in anyway, or their own business plan to discuss, so they won't even notice.
If you feel you must do this in the one cafe for miles around that does not scream "hipster internet millionaire," I think you should have the courtesy to at least buy a cup of coffee. Seriously. Even if you don't want it. We are all renting our chairs for the price of a beverage. That's how this business model works.
I feel better now. Thanks.