2007-03-11: Stirring The Crazy


Lissa_icon.gif TC_icon.gif Vince_icon.gif

Summary: Some people bump into each other at a busy coffee shop and experience various character clash.

Date It Happened: March 11, 2007

Stirring The Crazy

Starbucks #1981395901783598

Starbucks. Ever a hub of in and out business, today is no exception. In fact, the barristas look a bit overwhelmed from the sheer volume of traffic. Every table is taken, and most are full. The line is intimidatingly long.

Vince is fortunate enough to have a table. He is pouring over the wanted ads in the paper, half-drank chai latte forgotten in front of him. The three seats at his table are empty.

T.C. is not fortunate enough to have a table, but he does have a sizable cup of steaming hot black coffee and an even more sizable load of work, judging by the heavy backpack that pulls his wiry frame slightly backwards. He glances with some dismay around the crowded room, lower lip catching between his teeth. His grey eyes skip from table to table, but most of the people in the room are with friends, engaged in conversation of one type or another. Taking a deep breath, he finally heads towards Vince's table. "'scuse me? Sir?" he offers, hesitantly.

Lissa quietly drifts into Starbucks, and pauses, blinking at the sheer number of people. This may put a crimp in her plans for obtaining coffee. She frowns, thoughtfully. And as she makes her way further in… she starts getting That Feeling. Again. And she sighs, looking around the crowded room with a slightly petulant expression.

Looking up from his paper, Vince passes instant judgement on T.C.. "Not a chittering idiot…. Have a seat." Glancing around, he blinks at how busy the place has become in the past forty-five minutes. This is when he spies Lissa, and her expression. He offers her a cautious nod and looks back at T.C.. "Makes you realize why they have one of these on every block, doesn't it?"

"The city'd stop running without caffeine," T.C. says with a slight smile. He drops his backpack beside his chair; it lands with a heavy thud. "Thanks, sir. Just wanted to come get some work done. Crazy here today."

Lissa makes a snap decision, and wanders over towards Vince's table. She informs Vince and T.C., "I know you both," as she regards them with wide blue eyes. "New York is full of coincidences. I wasn't stalking you today," she then reassures T.C.

Well that was convincing. Vince hesitates only a moment before he confusedly asks, "Care to have a seat, uh, it was L-something, right? Lisa?" Vince slides out a chair for her with his foot, not bothering to stand. "Big city, small world. People bump into each other." He looks over at T.C. and raises his left eyebrow, "Or is she stalking you?"

T.C. is in the middle of leaning over to extract textbook (biology) and notebook (spiral-bound and rather beaten up) from his backpack when Lissa approaches. He looks up from the bag, eyes wide, and blinks a few times. "Uh -" is his initial eloquent reply. His brow furrows, and he looks at Lissa with a rather bemused expression as he sets his work down on the table in front of him. "That's - not - very reassuring, miss," he tells her slowly, and then, to Vince, "- she was stalking me yesterday."

Lissa explains, helpfully, "I stalked him yesterday. But it was for a good reason." As she sits down and makes herself comfortable, she adds, "It's Lissa. Lisa is too sharp. Like scissors." She starts to rub at her forearms, and then remembers herself and instead places one hand on top of the other, primly.

Amusement plays at Vince's features, he tries to hide it, but it still shows. "Sorry, Lissa. I'll try to remember that." He glances at T.C. and back to the Lissa and asks, "A good reason. And are you stalking this polite young man today?" Vince sets his folded-many-times newspaper down. A number of circles and X's are scribbled onto it.

Habitually curious, T.C.'s gaze drops to the newspaper, glancing over the marked ads with idle interest. He lifts his cup to sip carefully at his steaming-hot coffee, his cheeks reddening a touch with the heat. "I don't really like being stalked. Just - in case you were wondering. Which you probably weren't."

Lissa shakes her head. "Like I said. New York is full of coincidences. I wasn't stalking anyone today." She tries to offer a reassuring smile, to ease her words. "Things happen. Once you know someone, you're twenty-five times more likely to run into them at random, even in a large city."

Vince can't help but smirk at T.C.'s admission. Eyes shifting between the two much younger people, he says, "Well, that's cleared the air. Good to know the odds, by the way. I'm not normally the curious type, but, why were you stalkin' him yesterday? Usually women just slip a guy their number when they're attracted. Or say 'hi'."

A wide grin stretches across T.C.'s face, and he laughs quietly into his coffee cup. "Women stalking me because they're /attracted/ to me isn't really a - problem that I - uh, tend to have much, sir." Another sip, and then he sets his cup down, fingers drumming against the cover of his textbook, but not actually opening it yet. "Maybe it's just - just like. When you get a new - cellphone or something. And all of a sudden you keep noticing people who have it. But you're not really running into it more, you're just - seeing it, now. I bet half the people in here -" His hand gestures widely around the shop. "- have been here at the same time as me, lots, before. But I've never talked to them, so I don't notice."

Lissa blinks thoughtfully, and then explains, "It seemed like a good idea at the time. I was curious about something. And then we had Chinese food." It all makes sense to her, undoubtedly. "I was having a Very Confusing Day yesterday and he helped clear it up. Not that he seemed very willing at the time." She confides to Vince, "I seem to make him nervous."

Vince offers T.C. a name for his described phenomenon rather dismissively, "Hindsight bias." Then to Lissa, "Well, can't say I blame him. I'd be nervous, too. People shadowing you can make a guy jumpy." Extending an open right hand towards the much younger man he offers, "Vince. 'Sir' never really suited me much. What's your name, kiddo?"

"T.C." The teenager offers his name along with a handshake, brief but firm. "She didn't axe murder me or anything, so I guess it was okay. But. New York City. You just never know."

Lissa peers at T.C. "Your name is very sharp," she tells him thoughtfully. "It starts out hard, and then turns slippery. I like Vince. It's easier to grab." And just to totally reassure people, "I'd never murder anyone with an axe. It's too hard to explain why you're carrying one around, and they're just not that easy to find anymore. Not in the city."

"Thanks, Lissa," Vince says with a chuckle. He carefully gleans over the topic of axe-murdering, not wanting his own experience with such things to become apparent. "Next time you're trying to make someone feel better, just say 'I'd never murder anyone' and stop there. When you add 'with a whatever' to it things get highly suspicious."

"I think I prefer not being grabbable," T.C. replies with a shrug of one shoulder. "And - uh. He's right, you know. I'd kinda not want to get murdered with anything." He shifts uncomfortably in his seat, flicking an uncertain glance towards Lissa before dropping his gaze to his book instead.

Lissa nods to Vince, looking vaguely sheepish. "I'll remember that. No qualifiying how I won't murder people," she agrees. "I promise, I'm really not the murdering kind anyway. I don't like blood. Way too much red."

"Plenty of ways to murder someone bloodlessly," Vince mutters as he picks up his paper. Then he blinks a couple times, thinking perhaps that may have been a little much considering the company. With a shrug, he folds the paper out a bit, looks at it for under two seconds and sighs. "Pointless." Dropping the paper with distaste, he picks up his long cold chai latte and asks no one in particular, "Is there anything worse than sitting around waiting for a number of important phone calls?"

T.C. blinks again, and his wary upwards glance is for Vince as much as Lissa, now. "Getting all your fingernails pulled out and having salt rubbed on the raw nailbeds," he suggests lightly. "What were you looking for?"

Lissa tilts her head thoughtfully, and considers Vince's question. "You could be sitting around waiting for someone to come and give you a full body waxing," she suggests. "That wouldn't be anywhere near as enjoyable as an important phone call. Too much dread, not enough payoff."

Vince looks surprised, first at T.C.. "Creative," he nods a few times to emphasize his point. "Very creative." Then he turns towards Lissa and says, "Kiddo… they would need a /lot/ of wax. I'm half Italian and half Irish A.K.A. a beast from the neck down." Giving his head a little shake, he grins broadly and asks, "Either of you ever heard of a rhetorical question? You know what, forget about it." Vince waves a hand at the paper in a dismissive gesture, "Trying to find some stolen property. Wasting my time, though. Not sure what I was thinking when I picked this piece of shit up."

"They're the most fun type of question to answer, though," T.C. replies with a grin. "I don't think if I were trying to fence stolen goods I'd put an ad in the newspaper. Though. I'm not really much with the crime, so I don't know how people do it."

Lissa blinks at Vince. "That would indeed take a lot of wax," she agrees. "And be very painful." She shuts up as the conversation again changes directions. "I've no idea how you'd find stolen property."

"Never underestimate the stupidity of a criminal. Some are brilliant, but they're not the ones you catch. So hope they're one of the much-more-common idiots that pulled off a lucky heist. Chances are he stole it for someone in particular, but you never know. He might be unaware of the value of what he's stolen, but… that's pretty unlikely. I would hate to be a cop. All the real criminals get away, while you just sit around handing out traffic tickets and marking corpses with no likely suspects." Vince grimaces, "If I find this guy it'll be because he falls right into my lap and no other reason. Mark my words."

"Then what are you doing with the newspaper?" T.C. asks lightly. "You should just be kicking back comfortably." He takes a gulp of his coffee, easier to do now that it's cooled some. "So if you aren't a cop, what's in it for you if you find the person? Did they steal from you?"

Lissa tells T.C., glad to be of use here, "Vince is in security of some sort. He's very concerned about rich, famous people who travel without bodyguards and stuff like that." Oh yes, she likes questions with easier answers.

Wow, I should hire this girl to handle PR. Vince chuckles almost silently, nodding at Lissa. "She's right, T. Like I said, the paper is useless piece of merde. Not sure what I was thinking. Just hoping, I guess. As for what's in it for me," he pauses for a small sigh, "It's just important to a friend of mine. Sentimental." Realizing how sweet and soft that could sound, he adds, "Hopefully I'll get a finder's fee."

"Kind of you," T.C. says, somewhat dubiously. "Good luck. Hopefully it'll - er. Fall into your lap, soon." He shrugs, and looks back to his work. "I confess to being not particularly concerned with rich famous people. Bodyguards or no."

Lissa nods. "Rich, famous people are just like everyone else. They just have more expensive toys. And a lot more people surrounding them. I'm glad I'm not rich and famous. I couldn't stand people all the time. I get enough yelling in my ears already without an entourage."

"Yeah, it's definitely not all tea and biscuits. If the rich and famous weren't constantly at risk from the poor and ambiguous, then I wouldn't get paid the big bucks to tell them how to stay safe." Vince's eyebrows wrinkle closer together as he thinks, "What's that Eminem line? 'I'm rich enough to have you killed by someone who has nothing?' There's power in being normal, that's for sure." Now a rap quote might be odd to hear coming from a forty year-old man.

"I don't really know many Eminem lines," T.C. admits, lips twisting into a wry grin. His eyes flicker thoughtfully over Vince, and then he shrugs again. "You're both right, I think. I'll keep my normalcy."

Lissa seems caught by something Vince says. "Poor and ambiguous," she repeats, wrapping herself around each word. "Poor. It's an empty, hollow word, hungry for something to fill its stomach. You can hear the hollowness. Ambiguous… it's long and confused, it doesn't know if its coming or going. And it doesn't break down very well. Not like famous, where you can hear it reaching for the sky… ambiguous just sort of lies there, like a depressed person who can't get out of bed."

Vince yet again regards Lissa with that slightly amused but otherwise unreadable mask. Instead of being weirded out by Lissa's analysis, he joins in. "But what if you switch the word to ambiguity? It sounds so much more encompassing, like some tabula rasa brimmingly full of potential in its complete lack of anything. I like the word."

T.C. looks somewhat weirded out by the woman's ramblings. His brow creases. His pencil scratches messy notes into his notebook. "I think you're just assigning your own interpretation to those sounds," he says with a shake of his head. "You've decided the words feel that way because that's what you know them to mean, not cuz they /actually/ feel like that. You say "poor" to someone who's first language isn't English, they're not going to feel anything like that."

Lissa shoots Vince a -look-. "Ambiguity is a depressed person poked with a sharp stick until he gets up, goes to work, and falls asleep in his cubicle, dreaming of stars," she tells him. "And no one wants to be poked with a sharp stick. Potential's a nice word, though. It has a skip to its step." Then she stops talking, and gives T.C. an even sharper Look. "It's not -sounds-," she says. "Those are how the words -are-." She's very firm about this belief.

If Vince knows something about Lissa that T.C. doesn't, then he certainly isn't sharing. He doesn't look offended in the slightest at the look nor the disagreement. He doesn't let it go, either. "Ambiguity is a young child with all the choices of the world before it, lacking expectations to hold it down. If you tried to poke ambiguity with a stick it would take it from you, and do something with it that you couldn't quite perceive with your senses. That is the power of ambiguity. Right, T?" Vince has a smile small, successfully holding back his laughter.

T.C.'s eyebrows raise. He opens his mouth, and then closes it again abruptly. "Uh…" His head shakes, a somewhat resigned expression on his face. "Right," is a quiet mutter as he sinks down in his chair and focuses Very Pointedly on his textbook.

Lissa seems briefly agitated by Vince's insistence on telling her the wrong things. "Ambiguity's a young man, right out of college, who suspects he took the wrong classes, and didn't sleep with the right people, and now he has to have a real job and be a real person and yet he wants to go back and do it all over again but he suspects it's too late and even if he went back it wouldn't be the same and he's afraid that he'll just keep getting older without knowing what he wants," she says, the words tumbling out until she stops them suddenly. "I don't like ambiguity," she decides. "Now I want a sharp stick." T.C. is then told, "Don't be ambiguity. Whatever you decide to do, -do- it. Or I'll get the stick."

Most people would stop at this point. Then again, Vince is not like most people. If anything, he seems encouraged by Lissa's agitation. "Ambiguity is green with orange vowels and smelly consonants!" His voice is sardonic, and his face is all but split in half by a rather devious grin.

"I think," T.C. says with a rather abrupt and unambiguous shutting of his book, "that what I've decided to /do/ is study elsewhere." He does not say "somewhere where there isn't a crazy woman at my table," but his tone says it clearly enough.

Lissa eyes Vince balefully. Then she gives T.C. a hurt look. Slowly, she counts to ten in her head, before standing. "I appear to be having a Yelling Day," she declares. "I'm sorry. I need to go." Very prim, very composed. "I have to be places today."

Vince just looks back at Lissa with a smile. He must enjoy pushing people's buttons. Raising both hands, he waves to both of the youngsters (as he sees them) at once. That's when his phone starts ringing with the beat from Ludacris's 'Rollout'. "Looks like we all have places to be," is muttered. "Good luck out there."

"You and me both," T.C. replies as he shoves his books back into his bag. His head tips in a nod of farewell towards Vince and Lissa both, but he doesn't spare a backwards glance as he scoops up his coffee and hurries out of the store.

Lissa mutters under her breath as she stalks out. "People. Sucking through a straw and static in the air. Agitation. -People-." Lord only knows what she means, as she heads off into the cold.

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