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255 Larry, the Local 2010-07-16

Notchtop Care, storefront

While Amy was doing laundry, I went to Notchtop Cafe in Estes. She was going to join me as soon as possible for lunch. In the meantime, Notchtop had wi-fi and I needed to do some work on Metro to Mountain.
When I walked in the door there was a table by the window that was empty. Looking around I saw that the table had multiple electrical outlets close by. It was a great table. I sat down and began to work.
The waiter visited the table, brought menus, and coffee. I told him that I was waiting for my wife, but we would be eating in a short while.
A short time later, a man entered the restaurant carrying his laptop. He saw me sitting at the table and was befuddled. After sizing up the situation, he asked if he could sit with me. I said I was waiting for my wife to have lunch. That was the wrong thing to say.
The man informed me that I was sitting at "the locals" table. According to him, as many as 5 or 6 locals gather each day at the table to solve all the world's problems.
I said that I did not see a sign.
Continuing, he remarked that I would probably not even get service because I was at that table.
I said fine, but they had already waited on me. I thought that the waiters were probably happy to see someone seated at the table that was going to spend money!
He huffed and grubbed then took a seat at a nearby table.
I asked if he needed to use the electrical outlet, but he declined.
He just sat there watching me. I could not see him, so I did not care.
A woman, another local, came into the cafe. She sat at the bar and ordered her food. The man, who I came to overhear was called "Larry", explained to her that I was sitting at their table. She was unfazed.
Every time I spoke to anyone - the owner, cashier, waiter, a local, or a tourist; Larry interjected a comment to them also. If I spoke to someone, Larry spoke to them also. If I did not speak to them, he did not speak to them.
Suddenly, outside the window, the rain began to pour. The locals ran to the window to make fun of the tourists getting wet as they ran to their vehicles. As I sat at the "local's" table I, too, made fun of the locals (to myself) who were standing at the window making fun of the tourists.
Amy finally arrived. We ordered lunch. I had a veggie sandwich that was truly awesome. The food was slow; but other than that, it was great. I commented to the owner about the delicious food. He glowed. Larry sulked and stared our way.
Amy did not have any idea what was going on but wondered why "that man" kept staring at her.
After lunch, Amy left to retrieve the dried laundry. I invited Larry to join me at the locals table.
He said, no but came over to justify his local position. He told me how great everyone was who regularly sat at the table. He tried to reason why it was important for that table to remain local only. He was being nice.
I left, but he talked to me all the way out the door.
No one really ever showed up to sit with Larry to solve the world's problems. What will the world do?
Towns such as Estes Park live on the money tourists bring to town. I do not care if they call me a tourist or not; but it seems to be better for business to help the tourists, not make fun of them. This statement is true in Estes Park, Denver, Florida, or our home, Nashville. The tourists might not know the ways of the locals, but they do contribute to the local economy. Larry's tab at the Notchtop was one dollar, mine was thirty.
So if you are in Estes, go to Notchtop, just don't sit at Larry's "locals table."
Happy local trails.


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