Today was the first day of winter. I think. It might have been cold for a day or two in November, but today it got really cold so let's call it the first day of winter. On such days I wait for the bus inside Starbucks, where nobody seems to mind if I stand by the door without a coffee or a latte or a double grand caff half latte skim mochachino. Today was such a day.
Sitting at the window was an older man reading a newspaper. He told me that he spent all of New Years Day (yesterday) in that same seat and when he got home his ears hurt from the loud pounding that the front door makes every time it opens and closes. Yes indeedy it was a loud slam. But who was this man who spent THE ENTIRE DAY in Starbucks? And seemingly, not for the first time. He also told me that he has a really nice apartment that faces the back of 13th Street and has a lovely view looking over all the brownstone roofs, very quiet, quiet enough to write and "feel creative." Conversely, at Starbucks, writing was HARD with that door slamming constantly. Why didn't he go home? Honestly I didn't think to ask. It wouldn't have mattered, I don't think he had any interest in a two-way conversation, as he didn't acknowledge any of my sympathetic responses to his malaise.
Then, and here is the good part... he told me was was a writer for AM New York, which he declared as he shook the paper open. He said, "I wrote 11 pieces that were published." I looked down to see him pointing to a Letter to the Editor. Proudly, he pointed to the name at the bottom of a short letter about violence in movies, "Herbert P. Peckham, that's me, and yes you can tell I'm from Connecticut." So I pretended to read the article and said, "You make a good point." He responded, "Do you like how I was able to find a way to mention Jeffrey Dahmer?" Oh yes I did and that is why I can never ever go into that Starbucks again, even if it is icy from hell.
(You can read Mr. Peckhams letter here, on page 26) and see that he actually wrote "the last time I saw a person cutting up humans...was Jeffrey Dahmer." I kid you not.)