The Hyper Coffee Guy

Enjoy the latest story from the blog,
“Wrong Turns Write Life”

We pulled off to refresh at a rest stop. My arms and mind needed a break from the constant turning of the steering wheel for hours on end, navigating the endless bends up California’s Highway 1.

I lingered at an outdoor roadside coffee stand at the rest area. The line wound along the sidewalk, down the curb, and into some empty parking spaces. A bunch of Italian tourists, mostly younger, were ahead of me in line. The breeze off the Pacific had nobody in a hurry except for a pacing bus driver.

The closer the tourists and I got to the stand, the more we heard, the older Hippie server yell out a mostly incoherent story as he made drinks for his customers. He never spoke to the customers. When it was someone’s turn, he nodded, and they told him what they wanted. Then he went back to shouting out his tale, even while the drink was made and exchanged for money.

The coffee man was charismatic and full of drama. He kept repeating certain words, but they never seemed to connect to make complete sentences or make any sense other than references to Babylon. Although the Italians and I did not understand each other’s language, we understood that this coffee man was a real hoot.

“In the Tower of Babel …. SINNERS! …. Pagans! ….Concubines ….Nebuchadnezzar ….in 90 feet of gold ….Babylon!” There were words between these, but they were jumbled and lost to interpretation.

Then, the coffee man fell silent. He froze. The pregnant pause had everyone in the line looking at each other, wondering what he was doing or not doing. The bus driver even took notice, growing impatient, pacing more aggressively, looking from his watch to the coffee man several times. Just when the energy in line was leaning toward restless, teetering on the edge of whether the wait was worth it, the coffee man turned to the crowd and belted out a story clear as day for all to hear, ignoring the job at hand.

“A rock hurtled through space at the right time, in the right place, and with all of the right conditions. Over time, a plant and animal emerged from the fertile soil. Both grew to blanket the earth.”

The coffee man made dramatic motions with his hands. His eyes were open wide like silver dollars. His audience looked on with renewed curiosity. The bus driver crossed his arms and leaned on his heels, resigning to the fact he was here for the duration.

Coffee man illustrated by moving a muffin through the air.

At the end of the short tale, the audience applauded wildly as he returned to the job at hand. Maybe the story was fabulous, or maybe folks were happy to be served again. Regardless, the man performed as if he could care less whether there was an audience or not. But there was an audience. Some of it was a bit frightful and curious, and some a bit rude.

Back in the swing of his routine, the coffee man again made no sense, yelling now familiar gibberish into the air, “In the Tower of Babel …. SINNERS! …. Pagens! ….Concubines ….Nebuchadnezzar ….in 90 feet of gold ….Babylon!”

One of the Italians and I made eye contact and smiled at one another in a brief but warm connection. We shared an understood fun in the moment despite our otherwise language barrier.

By Frank Rocco Satullo, The OhioTraveler, Your Tour Guide to Fun! 

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“Wrong Turns Write Life”

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