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Will you be paying together or separately? (Part 2 of 2)

Continued from Part 1:


“Weird,” Megan said to me, as we walked back to a seat near the door to wait for our coffee, “what was her deal?”

“I think she knows you.” I responded to Megan.

“Edwin, how could she know me? I’ve never seen her before.”

“You suggested this place, right? How’d you know about it?”

“I came in here once for like five minutes, my coworker was picking up some coffee. But whats-her-name wasn’t here, I’m pretty good with faces. Wait, why would you think that she knows me?”

“Megan?” We heard the barista yell out. There was no expression on Megan’s face for about two seconds.

“Megan, here’s your latte,” Kelly said. Megan smiled, and stood up to get brown paper coffee cup.

I had ordered regular coffee, and had ordered first, while Megan had ordered some super specialized latte. Baristas have their own priority lists when it comes to preparing coffee, I guess.

I picked up my coffee soon after that and we were on our way out, when Megan suggested to ask her why Kelly wanted her to pay for her own coffee. I thought Megan was joking, so I smiled. I looked at her face for some reassurance that she had made a joke, but Megan was not smiling. Then she stopped walking.

“Excuse me, Kelly?” Megan asked.

“Yeah?” Kelly answered, holding her cell phone with both hands and elbows on the counter.

Megan was not going to go through with it. It would be too awkward.

“Why did you, um, I’m sorry, did you think that…?” Megan started.

“Did you think it was weird for me to offer to pay for Megan?” I blurted out.

It was odd, but Kelly answered.

It turns out that she had witnessed Megan come in once, with a guy who had frequented the place often and happened to be quite rude.

“If a woman wants to pay for her own coffee, she should be allowed to.” Kelly stated.

It bothered her that women did not get a choice, and went on about women in the workplace, rape cases in Africa, and abortion issues. We couldn’t say much without risking upsetting Kelly, so we just listened, awkwardly sipping from our hot drinks in unison for a good ten minutes. She was quite a character, and spoke with uneven flow, and I’m pretty sure she was making up stuff.

“Then she feels obligated to return a favor,” she went on.

Oh no. Things were about to get weird. We had to get out of there. I reacted the only way I knew how: I took out my cell phone and acted surprised when I looked at the time. Kelly caught on, and her tone changed to apologetic while her current sentence faded while she thought of something else to say. The talk she was giving to us, two friends who had just met earlier that day, was about to get a lot more awkward, and I was glad to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. And glad we got an answer.

“I didn’t mean to make you guys feel weird,” Kelly mentioned, “You guys look cute together. Tell me, how long have you guys been dating?”

“Oh no, we just met actually.” I said, after a short pause.

That was awkward, too.

“What?” Kelly looked smiled and sighed, “Well that makes sense. Wow.”

Megan and I were confused. What the heck was she talking about?

“So you and that, um, other guy a few weeks ago, you–”

“Friends,” Megan interrupted, “we’re coworkers actually.”

“Oh, ha ha! Thank god.”

Kelly and Megan exchanged some telepathic dialogue or something. They both smiled.

“I am so sorry. I was just like, ‘poor guy, this girl is obviously taking advantage,’ and the guy, um, your coworker comes here a lot, and he’s a real jerk, so I could totally see you ditching him” Kelly said.

So she wanted Megan to pay for her own coffee because she thought Megan was cheating on a jerk, but could totally rationalize it? But first gave a speech on me not giving women an option to decide? We slowly started inching toward the door.

“Thank you guys!” Kelly yelled out, as we opened the door. It got dark pretty fast outside.

So we didn’t really find out what you guys had mentioned in the comments. I guess it could be a lesbian coffee shop, or she could be a feminist. It was such a strange situation, that it still puzzles me, even though it happened a few months ago. Obviously I had to blog about it.

Once we were outside, Megan and I looked at each other. We didn’t have to say much about it, we were both thinking the same thing.

Or not.

Actually we had no idea what had just happened.

Megan finally said what I wanted to ask. I think. Remember, I was quite confused. I could sense her mind working hard to get out this question:

“So, whose side was she on?”

Will you be paying together or separately? (Part 1 of 2)

Talk about putting you on the spot.

I was out with a couple of new friends I had met at a bookstore, and eventually the group of five people turned into two: me and a brown-eyed girl with long dark hair. We talked about coffee and shared our views on unconscious cues that people give off. Both of us being deeply interested in human behavior, we had lots to talk about. It was around six o’clock in the evening, and the sidewalk was getting a bit crowded, so we stopped by a coffee shop that either sold really bad coffee, or was operating illegally because it was empty from what we could see from the outside. We walked in.

Sometimes you don’t know how to order at a new place, you know? Some people let you pay once you get your drink, others you pay up front, you can open up a tab, you can stuff your face and then pay later.. it can get quite confusing. The barista was cleaning something in the sink and asked what she could get for us, so I ordered a house coffee, and Megan ordered a latte with some other italian sounding words.

“It’ll be ready in a minute, guys! For here, or to go?”

I looked over to signal that we’re going to be heading out, and she looked directly at me and walks over to the cash register, wiping her hands on a towel. I walked over, and took out my wallet.

“Where are you guys coming from?”

“A bookstore,” I reply, “the one two blocks down, on Fourth.”

I handed her a ten dollar bill, and she held it without doing anything else. She looked at me and then at Megan. Then she asked, “Will you be paying together, or separately?”

Megan looked over, and stood up. I turned toward Megan.

“It’s OK, this one’s on me.”

“No, no. It’s OK.”

I looked at the barista, Kelly, her name tag read, and motioned her to accept it. Looking over my shoulder, Kelly opens her eyes widely toward Megan and says “Would you like to pay separately, honey?”

Megan froze. She looked at me, and then at Kelly.


I turned around toward Kelly and said, “It’s fine, just take my money,” trying to sound as casual as possible even the though I was awkwarded out.

Kelly waited for Megan to say something.

What was happening? Why was this such a big deal? I made an obviously confused facial expression for Megan, out of sight from Kelly.

Megan laughed.

“Yes, that’s fine. I’ll get you next time.”

Thank you, Megan. You just got us out of this strange situation. Pheew. Awkwardness averted.

Oh, wait.

There were no sounds coming from the cash register. Kelly was still looking at Megan, trying to communicate telepathically or something.


I wanted to laugh.

Still silent.

“Are you sure?” she asked.

Silence again.

Megan didn’t know how to respond, and the whole situation was so awkward that we ended up paying separately.



Why was this barista being so weird? We asked her. Her response may surprise you. Or not. Yeah, it probably won’t.

Any theories?

Part 2 of this story is coming up on Wednesday. 

When you really want someone to shut up but have to be polite

There are some people who really like to talk.

And I mean REALLY talk. Some do it because they are nervous, and others are just plain talkers.

I run into a few of these people about once a day. They tell you about their day, and about their life.. then make a comment about how they’re taking up your time, they apologize, and then keep talking.


For women in the dating world:

Imagine yourself sitting at a bar, with a couple of your girlfriends.. trying to act all cool. Suddenly someone takes the bait and he begins to approach you. Uh oh. Here he comes.

“Hello, I’m Jeff.”

“Melissa. Nice to meet you.”

“How is your evening going?”

“It’s going well, thank you.”

“Same for me, a couple of my friends had a blah blah blah…” and he goes on and on about people you don’t know doing things you don’t care about.

So he keeps talking and talking and you just sit there,  smiling, looking away every once in a while hoping that he gets the message –but no luck. What do you do? Pretend to get a phone call? Say you need to go to the restroom? …yawn?

For men in the dating world:

Well, let us be honest here.. you probably think the date is going well if she keeps talking.


I don’t know. Sometimes I just wish I could leave the person talking by themselves. How many times have you been on a phone call and literally put the phone down, go pee or make yourself a sandwich, and then pick up the phone again only to discover that the person still hasn’t stopped talking?

How do you let them know?

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