I'm begging you to be only moderately nice to me.

This is a lesson on civility. There is such a thing as being too civil.

I recently was sitting in a coffee shop working on my laptop trying to produce some stunning work of fiction. I frequently sit in coffee shops with my laptop trying to produce some great work of fiction. So far, all I’ve produced is an unusually high tolerance for caffeine. Plus the tendency to have to pee a lot.

On this particular morning, a woman approached my table and asked if I had recently performed in a play she had seen. I informed her I had, and she spent the next few minutes lavishing me with praise. I loved it. Come on, I’m an actor. I need the oral equivalent of a full body massage from time to time.

My ego was stoked. I’m as needy as the next actor for attention and this willing stranger was willing to give, give, give. And give she did. She even told me that she thought a two-person play like the one I had performed in would be boring, but she was pleasantly surprised. I’m always so happy to not bore.

As she wrapped up her part of the conversational stroking, she extended her hand to me. I took my admiring fan’s paw shaking it and believing that my mere touch was enough to make her day, perhaps sending her into a convulsion of pleasure right there in the coffee shop. Maybe it just made her slightly dizzy. I like to believe this is the fact as I look back on what happened next. It seems that one of my mitt grabs just wasn’t enough for her because as I turned back to my laptop to resume my work, she went in for a second handshake.

No one goes in for a second handshake. No one. That isn’t only a universal truth, it’s a warning.

The result of this “never-before-attempted” second handshake was a deft knock of my full coffee cup into my buzzing-with-ideas laptop. I thought I had salvaged my loving computer when the stranger and I lapped up the spill with some environmentally friendly napkins supplied by the good people at the coffee shop, but this job needed toxins that the green java people just weren’t ready to give up. I smiled back at the fan, and said, wimp that I am, “Happens all the time!” She left, I picked up my French Roast scented laptop and died a little inside as a pool of dark murky liquid started to pour from the CD/DVD slot.

Damn. Computers should not have that dark roasted scent as alluring as it may be to a coffee drinker like me.

Had the lady been standing in front of me at that moment of digital death reoginition I like to think that I would have said something a lot more witty than my initial comment. Something like, “Crazy bitch! Ahhhhhh! Crazy bitch! “ I’m sure I would have been supplied with some superior words had the double hand shaker not retreated into the safety of the world away from the coffee shop.

But I realize this is the chance you take waking up every morning. Perhaps this is how our economy really works. Someone fucks with you, you buy something.

Here's what I bought. Stay away from it with your mochas or lattes.


If you were wondering what the price of mild fame is, I can now tell you that it is $1, 611 dollars given freely to the Apple Computer Company.