Tuesday, November 21, 2006

the corner cafe guy

So, I might’ve mentioned this before, but I have an interesting relationship, on a not-strictly superficial, yet strangely ubiquitous acquaintancy with the café owner across from my apartment.
Convenience comes standard in my suburb; chit chat notwithstanding.

If you’re in a hurry, don’t go in there. It’s really quicker to drive to the Thrupps Centre and back.

He’s Portuguese and has a problem with serving any other customers in the store when I breeze in for ciggies, mainly because he is too busy telling me stories about land reform in his home town of Beira, or his boat stationed in Lisbon, or his frenetic children. Not to mention the messy divorce from his wife, with whom he proudly acknowledged to having an open relationship with. From what I can tell, the open-door policy was wholly one sided, until the day she decided to partake on a bout of casual shagging sans husband.
These conversations haven’t changed in all of three years. A candid fellow, perhaps, but I really believe I am the only one within my community that bears the brunt of his sexual exploits and anchor-moorings on the Algarve.

I made the mistake of asking him how he was last night. “Do you have time?” he says, shooing away his other customers, as per usual. The biased preference for talking to and serving only me is so blatant, I always kind of turn around, and address the queue by mouthing “sorry,” face etched in guilt.

He asks me, quite loudly and unperturbed about listening ears around us, the same questions every time I go in there – and full knowing my time will be compromised, and chances are I’ll miss the first twenty minutes of Home & Away:

1) Do I have a boyfriend?
2) [If the answer is no,] Why not?
3) Depending on my answer, ranging over the years from “all men are c$nts” to “I don’t have the time for a reasonable man”, it’ll go “Don’t you miss the sex?’ all while customers look on, tapping their feet impatiently to pay for his [questionably hygienic] House Espetada.
4) Then, Do I perhaps want to have sex with him?
5) Then, predictably, I’ll laugh, tell him he’s too flattering, really, and push my twenty ront towards him, staring hopefully at my Marlboro Lights and orange juice.
6) Oh but he has a wine farm in Cape Agulhas.
Which brings to me to, with a straight face, as always: “Being a corner café franchisee with your brother definitely has its perks, Joao.”

If I do have a boyfriend, he steers the conversation towards work. “You. You’re going to be famous. I can see it.” The fact that Joao the horny corner café owner can see it and Hollywood can’t isn’t tremendously uplifting. He knows I’m a writer in food and beverage. He sets his goals high, I see. Then he’ll rattle on about his kitchen cabinet instalment, and how his wife doesn’t want to settle out of court.

Occasionally, no I lie, very frequently, especially after hours, when booze has embellished my koppel to the point of unreason; I stumble in there giggling with C, The Ant or Third Roommate. And for shits, we’ll buy the Farmer’s Weekly or Combine Harvester’s Tatler, because we think it’s kinda funny.

He’s never put off by the fact I often come in without my face on, in my red 101 Dalmatians pyjamas or, often in the clothes I was wearing, dancing in and schvitzing in the night before. Bless his little heart.

Or like how I’ve walked in crying, after a man has broken my heart. He’s always very sympathetic, but then I suppose he’s thinking beyond the doondie-line. But bless all the same.

24 comments:

zuzula said...

Farmer's Weekly.... why didn't i think of that?! i need to brush up on all things agricultural at the moment ;)

boldly benny said...

Farmer's Weekly - ha ha! I have a friend who has a thing for farmers and when she hadn't had a boyfriend in a while, her father wanted to photograph her on a combine and put it with a personal ad in Farmer's Weekly.
Strange how you see people regularly through your usual daily doings and they end up confiding in you - I had it with a petrol attendant in Cape Town and had to avoid that garage when I was late for work and needed to fill up - even though it was only 200m from my house.

other-duke said...

hah.. that's hilarious

if he owns a farm and a boat, what's he doing chatting up customers at his "corner cafe". personally, i'd rather be kicking it in the Algarve. but that's just me

Insane Insomniac said...

Aha! So i'm not the only one who goes to the corner cafe in my jammies. Good to know i'm not alone in that department.
Only, now I traverse to the village offie, which also sees the patronage of some celebs. Nothing like showing off one's pooh bear pjs to the neighbourhood.

mike said...

Weakly Farmers: The best new magazine for chop-heads.

It is the question said...

Yes, I like this guy.

He's the guy who got you to stop smoking briefly - clearly at his substantial cost.

Good man.

IITQ

Jam said...

It's amazing how few people interact with other people they encounter every day like this guy. Sounds harmless and very sweet - good to know someone is looking out for you there - even if it's below the doondie line.

Daytripper said...

love that: below the doondie line! hur hur hur!
Reminds me of an Elvis song...
What's behind the Doondie line? (behind the donndie line!!)
what's that secret your keeping!
Oh sorry, this isn't written karoake is it?

Revolving Credit said...

Before you finally decide whether Joao the Cigarette Smuggler is worthy of hot sex or just late night sex-talk, tell me, how much bling does he wear?

Pete said...

Where's Peas today?

Champagne Heathen said...

Pete - maybe she is going the crazy activity of actually working today!?! Madness!

Peas - we had a great corner cafe as kids. Dodgy. Dingy. Around every packed corner there were chaotic treats. A guy who knew all our names, especially my mom's. Like I said, dodgy.

Now it is a poorly stocked Foodies, with sweet cashiers.

The last time I was in there, incredibly hungover & buying Stoney, I made the cashier speak to a friend of mine on the phone & reprimand him for leaving me at the party the night before!!

All in all, Good times!

Lollipop said...

This is Insane Insomniac doing a little PR for her little sister's new blog. mind checking it out before she starts to suffer from abandonment issues.

Thanks!!

Urk said...

hilarious!
how do you separate the men from the boys in protugal? with a crowbar!!

Peas on Toast said...

Hi chaps!

You won't believe it, maybe you will, but I've been in Witbank all morning.
What a party - not. Fuck. As a little "favour" to my editor as well, because she is "so snowed in work." Firstly - a little favour is popping down to the shops to buy her ciggies not go to Mpumalanga to do her dirty work, and secondly hello?? SHE'S NOT THE ONLY ONE SNOWED UNDER.

Sorry. Rant over.

Thanks for your comments guys, I'm back on the right side of the boerewors curtain now. Thank fuck.

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