I was sitting outside a Bloomsbury cafe, daydreaming and working on my caffeine:blood ratio, when my pen exploded and splattered ink all over my hand. No soap in the bathroom, but after I whined about it, the guy in the kitchen trotted out and squeezed washing up liquid onto my hands. No towels, either. Oh well. I rinsed the ink from the basin and wiped my hands on my tshirt in my usual slovenly manner.
An hour, maybe an hour and a half and three cups of coffee later I trot back down the spiral stairs, heading to the bathroom, bursting for a wee.
The man looks at me and demands, "What are you doing down here again?"
"Um, going to the loo," I mutter, stating the obvious.
He goes pale with anger, shaking his fist at me, yelling, "I can't spend all day mopping up after you! You come down here all the time! You're taking advantage! Taking advantage! How dare you? Get out! Get OUT!"
Astounded, I explain that all I want to do is go to the loo, and, crazily I start trying to justify this by saying that I'd only washed my hands before, and not gone for a piss.
But he is going beserk...talking, shouting all the time. Steaming angry, ranting about me having "no common sense, no common sense at all", about abusing him, about all sorts of crazy shit: "You come in here, with hands like a mechanic! You're taking advantage!"
I's so gobsmacked I have trouble pointing out that I am a customer, and merely wanting to use the facilities for the customers and that he might just have a slight problem here with customer relations. But he tells me that he is the manager, the owner and can survive perfectly well without the likes of me. He starts on about common sense again.
"Excuse me," I say, "I need to use the bathroom. This is not about common sense, it's about my bladder. Do you have a problem with that?"
"Yes!" he yells, and lays in on the abuse again. "You junkies. You filthy junkies with mechanics' hands. All you writers. You are dirty and take advantage. No common sense. All drugs and words and ink. And you buy no cake!
I apologised for ruining his day, and nipped into the bathroom, locking the door behind me as he started to pound on it, screaming, "NO CAKE! NO CAKE!"
I tried to have a word with the waiter as I paid--trying to find out what on earth this guy's problem is, when the creature from the deep appears and starts talking over me, "What do you want to listen to her for? She has no common sense! She has been to the toilet five times! Four, FIVE times! Why are you talking to him, what are you trying to do? What's the point? I tell you you have no common sense! Get out!"
Walking down the street, the waiter runs after me. "Sorry," he says, "he's a bit temperamental."