Hobos and Hashbrowns: Week 5

Working for stories and rent money at a local cafe: The Purple Sweet Potato

“All these young people just want to travel the world,” a young hipster girl wearing a raccoon skin cap and overalls comes up and jokes with me.

“Did you get there for 4/20 yesterday? It took me all day, but I got there. I was stoned to the bone,” a middle aged woman confides as she takes a seat at the bar.

My coworker admits he quit smoking a month ago, so he didn’t participate in 4/20 festivities this year. The customer asks him why he quit.

“The usual. The expense, the paranoia.”

I tell the customer that weed has never really worked in my favor before.

“You’ll get over it, I did,” she tells me.

I tell her I tried to be a stoner for many years, and it just isn’t my shtick. But I’m in full support of other people doing it if it makes them happy.

It’s still only eight in the morning, but we have a full house as the self proclaimed “foodies” come in. They are a motley crew of seventeen people, from all over the US and Canada. They meet up once a year for three days, touring and eating at 8 restaurants a day. We’re on their day 2 in the city.

Their breath smells strongly of booze, and I can tell that this 8 am breakfast to begin their day is a struggle for many of them.

They order. More people order. An entire volleyball team and their families order, and then our favorite regular, Blind Guy, walks in.

“How are you today, Blind Guy?”

Everyday, he says, “Fabulous, ” with a flourish.

He shows me a documentary that was made about him by a former worker at the Purple Sweet Potato. Obviously I am not the first artist to draw inspiration from him.

Tucker the mailman comes in and tells us that he played Jesus in Easter mass last weekend. Tucker wears a safari hat everyday as well, just like Blind Guy. Safari casual.

Dee begins talking about paganism and doing peyote when another customer walks up:

“This is the Home Alone soundtrack playing,” the customer points out to us about what is playing over our speakers. We think it’s hilarious that it’s playing, and that she recognized the soundtrack.

Ten minutes later,

“Yep. It’s the Harry Potter soundtrack now. This is today,” My coworker Lucy comments, stone faced.

“Thanks for the drugs,” Broco says as I hand him the coffee with an extra shot in it that he orders daily. A pan flute begins crooning over the speaker, signifying that the Titanic soundtrack has now began.

We discuss how we’re pretty sure someone has been living and shitting in the basement of vacant house next to the cafe.

Lyss has watched the early 2000’s minor classic, “Chicken Run” 14 times this year alone.

Dee read in the newspaper today how the state is debating whether gay people should be able to be fired from their jobs, and evicted from their homes for being who they are. It resonates even deeper to me what a special place this cafe is for the gay community. When your bosses are openly gay, no one has to ever fear losing their job for being who they are.

We end the day with George Michael songs, and a tribute to the gay community, as George Michael sings out loudly through the speakers, and the Purple Sweet Potato closes down for the day.

Photo Credit: https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51VFxeSMYlL.jpg

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