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Observational Therapy

“It’s a hip place, I guess?

I should have worn hipper clothes.

That’s the trouble when your wife dresses you!”

This is what the English Lit professor says to the guy behind him

who I can tell he imagines is judging him thoroughly for his attire—his words are, “I’m kind of a square.”

I know he’s an English Lit professor because he’s said it loud enough for homeless in NOHO to take note.

“You got your style and I got mine,” says the guy in leather boots, leather jacket, torn jeans, and stringy jet black hair, clearly perturbed.

I don’t want to notice any of this but I do.

Nor do I want to pay attention to the overly dramatic yet cynically pretentious English Lit professor’s attempt to make small talk with the regulars—but I do.

He points out all the quirky nuances that make this place great,

like the hand scribbled signs, one that tells you To Take Phone Calls Outside! And another that states This Is Not Studio City!

He gets a real kick out of those while he fakes making a phone call.

I can’t blame him though, he probably doesn’t get out much.

Eventually the English Lit professor gets his oat milk latte and goes.

The guy in leather does the same, only looks a little more defeated than when he entered.

It’s then this overly polite weirdo-nerd asks me for my seat so he can plug his computer in to charge while he does everything but do work on said computer.

I know this because after I say no, a chair opens up next to me and he does just that.

Except when I tell him no, he turns confused, and I feel like an asshole.

It’s then I realize I’m supposed to ignore my surroundings and get back to my book like everyone else seems to be doing—

page 38’s a doozy.

The boy doesn’t want to tell his father his step-mother raped his recently deceased brother—but he does.

We bring it on ourselves, I guess.

Judgement, I mean.

That’s the problem with cynical, shamelessly self-involved squares—

we can smell our own.

I just consider it observational therapy.

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