At my favourite coffee shop in Calgary, the one where I could sit with a cup of coffee after work and talk to the alcoholic ex-journalist lisping through his missing front teeth, the snaggle-toothed girl with the corkscrew blonde hair and the trenchoat with stained cuffs, the Amway predator in the navy suit, the twenty year old guy who derived his entire sense of self from smoking a pipe, the local gay AA chapter that met there on Wednesday evenings, you were hired to stand behind the counter and treat me like shit.
At first glance you were strikingly handsome, but you smelled bad. Did you jog to work in the morning and let the sweat just infiltrate your clothing? Did you rub your clothes in your sweat on Monday, just to get that aroma going strong by Wednesday? And holy shit, buddy, you wore leather pants one day. Don't deny it.
Despite these manifest character flaws, I treated you like I treated everyone else who worked there: with courtesy and familiarity. You repayed my good will by refusing to meet my eye and speaking in monosyllables, then complaining to your coworkers that I was hitting on you. Your coworkers laughed because they liked me, but more than that, they hated you.
A few years later in another city I walked into a coffee shop and there you were, standing behind the counter. Fuck. As I was drinking my coffee, you slapped me on the shoulder, leaned in close and said "I work here on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons".
Thanks for small courtesies.