Cambridge, MA —

As she sits across the table from her friend Allen, who is now knee-deep into a “Then she was like, and I was like” story, it’s beginning to dawn on Elena Trigler that she won’t be escaping the coffee shop any time soon.

The story involves someone named Carrie, who is either Allen’s work enemy, his college housemate, or maybe his cousin. Seriously, does it matter?

A good looking guy with a well-kempt beard is walking through the parking lot toward the coffee shop. Is this a hopeful omen? No. Omens don’t exist, the bearded guy just disappeared into the Trader Joe’s, and Allen is on something like his four hundredth “Then she was like…” with no apparent end in sight. This is really bad.

An older woman at the counter is having trouble with that thing you put your card in — it’s fucking annoying (the card thing. Also, old people). Has anyone ever noticed that the lighting in coffee shops is sort of brown? Does brown light even exist? Why does everybody keep asking for the bathroom key when the bathroom obviously has an alphanumeric lock?

Allen is hitting the half hour mark with his saga, and he’s barely scratched the surface. Isn’t this fun?

The bearded guy is leaving Trader Joe’s and getting into a Smart Car. Disappointing. Dude, if you can grow a beard, you can also grow a motorcycle. Maybe brown light is just coffee light plus bearded light?

It’s worth Googling. In fact, Elena is pretty sure she will look it up, sometime in 2022, when Allen’s story starts to wind down.

By Joe Lichtblau