39. Blair needed a break from the indoor life. Sometimes it seemed like he was in his apartment 24/7. He had recently found a perfect outdoor cure. It was a new coffeehouse on Foothill Boulevard that served 45 kinds of coffee and tea. He liked it because the coffee was good and the place was never overcrowded.
The coffeehouse was only a 10‐minute walk from his apartment. Blair took the walk. There were three female customers in the coffeehouse. None of them was young and pretty. Blair was a little disappointed. He preferred to see good‐looking women while he was drinking good‐tasting coffee.
He ordered a large "coffee of the day," which was $1.70. He gave the clerk two dollars. He put the change in the tip jar and took his coffee outside. Blair preferred to drink outside. That way he could watch the traffic on the street. He liked to spot old Cadillacs that looked similar to his own.
He sat at a table under an umbrella, opened his book, and began reading. The book was a self‐improvement book. Blair had been reading it on and off for about two years. He hadn't noticed any improvement. A woman was approaching the patio. Blair looked up to see if she was attractive. She was. And she was by herself. He returned to the book as she passed by him. Blair kept looking at the pages, but his mind was on the woman.
A few minutes later, she came outside holding a cup of coffee and sat at the table right next to Blair's. Her chair was so close to his that he could have reached over and touched her on her right shoulder. There were four other empty tables on the patio. Why had she sat at this one, so close to him? Was she looking for a boyfriend? Was she hoping that he would say hello?
Blair went back to his book. But he wasn't reading the words—he was thinking about the woman. What could he say to her? How could he break the ice? What was a good line? "What blend are you drinking?" "Your perfume smells nice." "Weren't we in the same art class?"
But maybe she wasn't interested in him at all. Maybe she just wanted to sit and drink in peace. Yet why would she sit so close to him? His thoughts were whirling around. He finally hit upon The Right Approach. As soon as she finished her drink, he'd ask her if he could treat her to another one. That would be a nice gesture on his part, and if she said No, then no harm, no foul. He'd go back to his book—but at a different table.
Just then, her cell phone rang. She answered it, then laughed, then started talking animatedly. That's got to be her boyfriend, Blair thought.
But from the moment she had answered the phone, it didn't matter to Blair if she had a boyfriend or not, because she was speaking another language. Blair was not interested in a girl who didn't speak English. He went back to his book and his coffee. It tasted good, and his mind was clear. 3.4, 539
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