Get Your Own!

One of Annie and my favorite things to do on Sunday mornings, when we are together or otherwise, is to read the New York Times at Starbucks. When at home, we go to the Starbucks in Highland Park Village and do our best to beat the crowds to two of the four comfy chairs for our morning read. This morning was no exception. I got my Venti Drip, Annie her doctored up and iced down tea and we snagged two of the coveted chairs.
And then it happened.
It wasn't the first time. In fact, it unfortunately has become a bit of an expectation. I have begun to read the Times with an extra ounce of vigilance so as not to be caught off guard ever again, because if you are, it gets even more awkward.
I spotted him this morning, before he'd even walked in the front door. His very short steps, his very high waist line, and his very shifty eyes were all very present. As he made his way towards our chairs, I began to prepare for the confrontation.
This elderly gentleman is a newspaper snatcher. He has a special affection for the Times. If you leave your seat for the restroom or a refill, expect that portions of your paper and perhaps the entire thing will be missing when you return. We have seen it happen to others, we have had it happen to us. And he has no shame and even makes your feel guilty when you tell him that you are still reading it, or even worse, when you have to go ask him for your paper back!
He waddled down toward where we were sitting and immediately went for the Dallas Morning News on the coffee table, fortunately not ours. He then sauntered around behind our chairs and reached out for the Times sitting in between Annie and I on our end table and grunted, "Are you done?"
This end table in between Annie and I had our drinks, our phones, our sunglasses, and the remnants of the petite vanilla scones we'd shared. I am not sure we could have marked our territory any better than if we had taking a hint from Fido. Yet, for whatever reason, he felt that he had the right to our still very unread and crisp New York Times.
"No, we are still reading." I politely let him know, hoping to discourage him from making it awkward.
"Are you going to be done soon?" the crotchety little bugger asked.
"No. We are not." I stated with a little more authority, doing my best not to disturb the rest of the Park Cities, but perhaps warning them the paper snatcher was in the building.
His response? He sat down at the table behind us and waited.
I know we are in a tough spot in the economy, I know retirement is hard and makes you cranky, and I know that the Sunday Times had a price increase a little while back, but seriously, get your own paper.