Idiot’s Guide to Making Bethany Think about Punching You

This week marked one of the worst encounters I’ve ever had at the coffee shop. It was horrible– more than vaguely creepy and insanely awkward.

Yesterday, I worked the morning shift. Despite my employment at a place of caffienated joy, I am not a morning person. I never have been, and probably never will be. I manage to make it to work on time (at 5:30) on the mornings I work, but I notice a distinct difference in both my handwriting and mental skills after arising so long before the sun.

Also, for some reason, my social skills weaken to the point of unholy awkwardness.


There’s a particular regular at the shop who I don’t love. We’ll call him 20 oz mocha guy.

There are a lot of reasons I don’t love this man. Aggravating, extended attempts at eye contact, strangely probing questions, and an unsettling habit of grabbing one’s hand on the coffee cup when one gives him his mocha.


So I was at work. It was not particularly busy, and I was out at the front, waiting for people. I saw 20 oz mocha guy approach. In my head, I groaned. He was accompanied by a younger man. We’ll call the second one macchiato guy.

They came in and ordered their drinks and strove to make uncomfortable conversation. While I was trying to start crafting their coffee, macchiato guy started interrogating me about playing live music at the shop. I answered him with my standard reply– email us, blah blah blah. Finally, he wandered away to where 20 oz mocha guy was sitting, looking at me strangely. Ahem.

I ground, dosed, and tamped their espresso shots. As I was pouring milk to steam, macchiato guy approached the espresso machine again. He had been across the room looking at the jewelry and other stuff for sale– particularly the rack where I have my upcycled jewelry for sale.

“You guys really need more of those guitar string bracelets,” he said bluntly, “I play guitar and I make them.”

For a second, I didn’t know what to say, so I decided to go with a similarly blunt and awkward reply.

“Actually, I make those,” I answered.


A moment of excruciating silence ensued. I seized the opportunity to steam milk. As I dumped the shots into the cups, he attempted conversation again.

“So you play guitar?”

“Yep,” I responded, “Sort of.”

“Me too,” he said, “What kind of guitar do you have?”

“It’s a Cort,” I said, pouring the milk, “Not the best, but you know– it’s sufficient.”

“A guitar’s a guitar,” he said, a little too eagerly, “I’ve had like six guitars.”

I started to question him about his guitar collecting habit, but he continued– “I’ve broken three so far.”

Stunned, I made a face at him. “How does that happen?”

“Oh, you know… Gigs and stuff… Just getting into the show and all.”

Annoyance rose in my heart. “I think I would kill myself if I broke a guitar,” I said– I tried to be friendly-ish, but I almost hope I came off mean. I circled around the espresso machine and handed macchiato guy and mocha guy their drinks. I dodged mocha guy’s attempt to touch my hand. “By the way,” macchiato guy said, and introduced himself.

“I’m Bethany,” I replied, and shook his hand. Quickly, I retreated behind the counter. Mocha guy approached, “That’s my brother,” he pointed out.

“I’m the cute one,” macchiato guy said.

“No, I’m the cute one!” mocha guy reacted.

“Oh my gosh,” I thought, “Why is this happening to me?” I fake laughed, desperate to not be involved in that particular exchange.

My salvation came in the form of an older couple seeking coffee. As I took their order, the Awkward brothers made their way to leave the shop. I was full of relief.

They opened the door, exiting. As he stepped out, macchiato guy shouted, “Take it easy, Beth!”

My teeth clenched, maintaining a fake smile. “See ya,” my lips said. My eyes tightened

I began creating drinks for the wonderful old couple.

Typically, I’m not prone to violence. Usually, the extent of my anger involves hoping that people are cursed with a terrible pet or annoying jobs.

But this time, I imagined with glee how it would feel to punch macchiato guy in the throat.

The awkward conversations, the lame attempts to flirt, the bragging about breaking guitars– all of that I can deal with, but then he just had to go and top off that sundae of kill-me-now with a cherry of calling me a nickname upon our first meeting.

This is unacceptable to me at so many levels, for the following reasons:

  • By his wretched flirting, I could tell he was trying to imbue me with a false sense of familiarity
  • If we really were familiar, he would know that Beth is the one nickname I find wholly unacceptable
  • I said Bethany– I meant Bethany
  • He sounded stupid

I was so upset about that one sentence– that one horribly ignorant and rude usage of that one name which has never been mine.

For the rest of the afternoon, I was irked.

Actually, I still am irked.

If you want me to write an irked blog about you, by all means, call me Beth. The more awkwardly you can work it into the conversation, the better.

(Disclaimer: This story is abridged and heavily biased.)


    • Aubrey
    • December 8th, 2011

    I love your dramatic stories. I can’t wait to call you Beth right to your face. mwahaha

    • Except you calling me Beth will annoy me so much less because you know I hate it. Illogical, I know– but you’re my friend. Not some random, creepy acquaintance.

  1. You are probably already aware of this, but you are hilarious! Loved this so much.

  1. March 7th, 2012

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