Saturday, November 29, 2003


Last night, Amy and I went to have coffee and work crossword puzzles at the local over-priced coffee saloon. It was crowded, so we did our usual team work of Amy ordering the coffee and me reconnoitering for seats. One table was empty, but as I started laying claim to it I noticed a pair of leather clogs underneath. I was struck by the oddity of that, and wondered if someone had left their footwear behind to save the table.

I have been out of my depths at various times at Starbucks, learning to comprehend peculiarities like ordering a tall drink if you want a small one. It took me a long while before I was comfortable with the general ambiance of the place much less at ease with paying 5 bucks for coffee. Now my mind drifted to Boaz and the kinsman redeemer in the book of Ruth and I wondered if perhaps this shoe thing was some Java Jungle ritual with which I was also unfamiliar.

I couldn't hesitate for long, the place was still packing in people all eying seats but not having the advantage of Amy and my teamwork skills. I decided that shoe-saving was a distinct foul. I marked our territory properly...with crossword puzzles, pens and my butt in one on the seats. Then I waited to see if anyone would challenge my actions.

No one did. When Amy came back I mentioned the clogs and she began scoping out the other customers, looking for anyone barefoot among the baristas, but everyone appeared to have their feet covered.

Finally a waitress came along and said, "Oh those shoes are still here? They've been here since I came in." She took them away.

I'm left without answers but with another tale to tell. The story of shoeless Joe?