Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Coffeeshop Dude gets a new ride

Anyone who spends much time in The E-Atl knows about the guy who hangs out at Joe's coffee shop pretty much all day every day. I call him Coffeeshop Dude.

He's a white guy with long, dirty dreds, probably in his mid to late 40s (although life as Coffeeshop Dude is probably hard, so maybe he's younger than he looks). It would be easy to call him a bum, maybe assume he's homeless. But I think there's more to Coffeeshop Dude than that.

I'd call him a man of leisure.

He doesn't ask for money. He's friendly. When he's at Joe's, he's usually reading a newspaper or book and chatting up others hanging out on the sidewalk. It's just what he does.

Coffeeshop Dude doesn't wake up on the sidewalk outside of Joe's. Apparently he has a home (if not a shower).

When I'm driving to work on Ormewood Avenue between 8:20 and 8:30, I can count on seeing Coffeeshop Dude on his bike, heading toward The E-Atl - no doubt to Joe's. Apparently he's got a schedule to keep.

Char-lez sees him when he's walking Louis around the 'hood, and Tony says Coffeeshop Dude rides past his house in Grant Park every morning. So we can establish that Coffeeshop Dude lives somewhere west of Grant Park, and digs Joe's enough to pedal over and hang out every day.

Not a bad life for a dred-head white guy.

So last night I'm at Publix at East Lake, and who do I see? Coffeeshop Dude.

It seemed strange to me that Coffeeshop Dude would ride all the way over to East Lake to go shopping, so I watched him leave the store. He headed out with his groceries and got in a white pickup truck. Driver's side. Alone.

The truck used to have some kind of company logo on it. It had one of those pointless paper license plates you get when you buy a new vehicle.

Could it be that Coffeeshop Dude bought himself a truck? Signs would seem to indicate as much.

So good for him, perhaps.

Having a truck will make the trip to Joe's a lot quicker. But along with the truck comes a lot more responsibility. He has to have money for gas and insurance (maybe).

Follow that logic, and it could mean that in his need for more money, Coffeeshop Dude may have to work more, which means less time at the coffeeshop.

I'd hate to see him lose his dream of a shiftless existence for the "freedom" of vehicle ownership.

I'll be watching the sidewalk at Joe's for Coffeeshop Dude.

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