This morning, I’m sitting in Starbucks after meeting some other marketing peeps catching up about who to know, what to do, what bullshit works, what doesn’t.  Its been a while since I’ve visited this particular coffee shop.  I haven’t purposefully been avoiding it, but based on my last experience, I probably should, and sitting here has brought back one particular “flash” back.  Don’t get me wrong the service is great, and my Peppermint Mocha fancy pants $5 overpriced coffee is delish (don’t ask me what size because I still don’t understand the whole tall, grande, super gigante, snooty size system they have).  But, the last time I was here, was a visit I will never forget.

I’ve been selling advertising in a local magazine for many years.  And about a year ago or so, I had the final layout of the magazine to proof.  I found myself a nice quiet corner to sit and get my work done.  It was a very cold day- which in Charleston, SC means its below 60 degrees.  I mean, I had to put on a sweater and everything.  So we’re talking super cold.

Like I said it was a cold day for our little sub-tropical paradise and everyone was bundled up.  A gentleman came in and sat at the table next to me.  He was wearing those super short running shorts; you know, the kind Richard Simmons wears.  And I thought, “gosh, he must be cold” and went right back to my work.

He was reading the newspaper, and every once in a while I would glance up and we would make eye contact. He never smiled or said anything and he would return to his paper and I’d return to my work.  As I sat there working, things started to change and when I say change, I mean CHANGE.  I glanced up and noticed part of his BALLS hanging out of the bottom of his shorts.

“Okay, stay calm”, I told myself, “surely he doesn’t know his balls are hanging out of those ridiculously short shorts”.  I quickly averted my eyes and returned to the work at hand.  I put my hand on my forehead to shade my eyes so I wouldn’t accidentally look at him.

On a side note, I have a major staring problem.  It can be anything unusual or out of the ordinary and try as I might I just can’t help but stare.  One time in 6th grade, we had a new student come to our class.  He was fresh off the boat from China and did not speak one word of English.  He was also 14 years old and wearing a lettermen’s jacket that had a big old Chinese letter on it.  I was completely fascinated.  I’d met people from foreign countries before, but never anyone so new and different.

His name was Ying Hua and our teacher introduced him and asked us to all make him feel welcome.  He sat two rows behind me and once he entered the room, I could NOT take my eyes off of him.  I literally was turning around so I could get a good look and soak it all in.  And soak it in I did!  I remember his shiny black hair, cut in a bowl hair cut, he had red shoes and the lettermen’s jacket was gray- and if I could read Chinese I’m certain I could tell you exactly what letter that was on his jacket.  But, as we all know, staring is rude.  Poor Ying Hua, as if he didn’t feel out of place enough, here was this weirdo girl turned around staring at him like he’d just come from Mars.  Well after what seemed like an eternity (to him at least and not nearly long enough for me), I’m sure it was less than a minute, my teacher quickly corrected me and told me to STOP staring at him.  Okay- hint taken.  I turned around but every chance I got to  steal a look in his direction I did.  This is just one example of my staring problem, I’m sure there are many others, but that’s not what this piece is about.

Anyway, back to inappropriate shorts man.  I was about half way through proofing the magazine and I looked up just to have a little mental break.  Well now I notice it is not just his balls hanging out- but the tip of his penis is peaking out of his shorts as well!  “Surely, he just doesn’t know,” I told myself in a desperate effort to calm myself.  So the hand returned to the forehead and I went back to proofing.

I was getting close to finished and sat up straight to stretch my back and look around and then I SAW IT!!  The thing I can NEVER UNSEE!!!  He was sitting two feet from me with his shorty shorts pulled down and his penis pulled out just going to town and looking right at me!  What the fuck???  I stood up and yelled, “OH MY GOD!” and quickly pushed passed him, scared out of my wits and went running to the safety of the effeminate barista.  In broken, breathless words I yelled, “there’s a man masturbating upstairs!!”  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the gentleman (yes, I use the term loosely) go darting out of the shop.  Actually, it is sort of impressive that he could go from masturbating with a full on hard-on to sprinting in a split second, so I guess I should give him props for that.  The barista turned to his fellow coffee coworkers and yelled, “He’s BACK!”  He’s BACK???  What the hell?? This man is here on a regular basis beating off?? Does he have a coffee fetish?

They called the police and an officer came to interview me for all the details….what did he look like, how tall, who were his parents, where did he go to school, is he saving for retirement?  Shit, I don’t know how to describe this man at all!!  All I know for certain, is that he was wearing shorts and his PENIS was out!!  I really can’t tell you anymore than that.  Despite my staring problem, I was not looking at his face and so that information was not emblazoned in my mind.  The officer went on to tell me that this particular gentleman had pulled (no pun intended) this stunt in several other area Starbucks.  So, I guess he did have some kind of coffee fetish- weird huh?