Open Letter to the Guy with the Booming Voice at the Coffee Shop

chef holding white tea cup
Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom on

Dear guy with the booming voice at the coffee shop,

I know you’re busy, so rather than bother you, I intercepted your order and asked the barista to slip this coffee sleeve onto your cup.

Thank you for showing me how to command a room, or, in this case, take over a coffee shop. I’m watching in awe as you bellow into your earpiece and ignore strangers staring at you as if trying to bore holes through your forehead and into the back of your head with their laser-beam-like eyes. Your “I don’t care” attitude is a skill I’ve never mastered, yet one that no doubt you’ve spent years perfecting.

Your exemplary people skills are admirable. Who can blame you for shaming a guy for recklessly spilling water on your Ivy League t-shirt? And your social skills are enviable. Why would the cashier refuse to give you her number, especially after you repeatedly called her sweetheart?

How I wish I was as comfortable as you at being the center of attention. When I’m in public, I keep to myself and barely whisper into my earbuds when I take a call. Not you. You’re spewing profanities and wildly gesturing your arms with bits of spittle shooting out of your mouth like daggers. Forget about those mothers with small children flanking you and rushing to cover their children’s ears. Those kids are too young to understand what you’re saying. To be honest, I’m not familiar with all of the terms you’re using, but I’m sure I can find them on Urban Dictionary.

Speaking of moms, the call you took a few minutes ago, the one I assume was from your mom, mostly because you yelled “What now, mom?!” made it clear who’s the boss in your family. How dare your mom think you could miss a golfing trip to attend your grandma’s funeral?

As you pace the floor, I see how easily you’re able to slice through the tension and near silence filling the other side of the shop. Your “deal with it” attitude complements your strong, booming voice. If you haven’t already considered a career in broadcasting, you should.

You, sir, have given me hope that I, too, can walk into a crowded place of business—I may start with Panera—slip on my earbuds, and carry on a conversation while I block out the haters. Thank you for that.

Before I wrote this note, I considered approaching you. I would tap you on the shoulder and ask you to share your secret to turning the coffee shop into your personal place of business while ignoring death stares and whispers. But then you clicked over to another call and I realized that interrupting you would have been rude and insensitive.

Wishing you continued success.


Lisa Kanarek

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