Anybody who knows anything about Connecticut Me knows I start my morning the same way: By making the two block journey up to my local deli for my breakfast sandwich and cup of Joe.
This deli has a public area that is sort of shaped like a backwards L. When you walk in the door, you can walk straight and go shopping for overpriced items that are the “convenient” part of the convenience store, or you can take a sharp left and walk past the newspapers, a wall of hard rolls and an ice machine and get to the coffee carafes and get your day off to a good start.
Immediately to the left of the coffee, along a window that overlooked the parking lot and street, sat four chairs next to a small shelf.
That’s it. Just four chairs, a small shelf, and a window.
Now it was here every morning where — depending on what time of the morning I actually rolled out of a bed — I would see a group of regulars hanging out, talking, telling stories and catching up.
There was Ivan, a man closing in on 100 years old, who — if he was gone too long — well, let’s just say, people would wonder the worst.
There was Charlie, a big hockey fan who in retirement decided he wasn’t going to just sit around doing nothing, and volunteers his time “working” at the local recreation department keeping an eye on its facilities.
There’s also Chuck and Annie, a country-traveling married couple; Joe, a proud father and grandfather whose son works at a newspaper upstate; and there is a guy whose name I don’t know, but he was, more often than not, the most regular of the regulars.
Today, when I walked into the deli, the chairs were gone. It dawned on me that I actually noticed this earlier in the week, but I thought it was just a one-day thing.
Today, I asked the lady behind the counter.
It appears that some Asshole came into the store one day and asked to use the bathroom. The store does not have a public bathroom and the customer was refused access.
Now the bathroom in this store is located out back, near the private offices where I’m sure some of the money is kept, so it’s the last place you want customers having access to. As such, I totally understand the owner’s right to refuse anybody access.
Well Mr. Asshole obviously didn’t. And because the deli had four chairs (no tables, mind you – just four chairs and a shelf) he reported them to the local health department who gave the deli’s owner an ultimatum: Either open your bathroom to the public, or get rid of the chairs.
So that’s why the four chairs are gone. That’s why the store’s regulars no longer hang out, greet each other and catch up on each others lives.
Because some asshole wasn’t allowed to go pee.
Now, I’m at a stage in my life where I don’t really tolerate such bullshit from people. If I knew who this person was, I would track them down and relieve myself right on their front stoop. (No. 2, too, by the way … none of this No. 1 stuff for this clown!)
What right did this person have to do that? … To go so far out of his way to do that, just for revenge over a business that didn’t want him – or her, I suppose – walking through the store’s private space?
There are so many things to hate about this world (cough *Donald Trump* cough) and this life and time in which we live in. My generation has really changed this country and not necessarily for the better.
One of those things the world really misses is a group of people sitting around talking with each other, getting to know each other, looking each other in the eye.
Remember when we did that? I do because I remember these regulars doing that for the last decade.
And there are so many big things I can get aggravated by, I don’t know why such a little thing gets under my craw so much. I don’t know why it behooves me to rush to this site, to spew off such venom here.
Maybe I feel a little better, but let’s be honest. It does nothing to fix the real problem of how we treat each other as a mankind.