How it's not done:
Anna and I were at our home-away-from-home, Amsterdam Falafel. I guarded the coveted table by the window, while Anna mirchified our fries. The shady characters moved in: black button-up clubbing shirts, unbuttoned, a miasma of cologne, and some pretty pathetic attempts at facial hair. This didn't look good. Anna came back to the table with the manna, and tagged me so I could wash my hands. I made sure all the seats at our table were occupied with backpacks and sweatshirts. Walking towards the shadesters, I considered saying "if you try to chat me or my friend up, I'll cut you." Not nice, but merited by the level of ogling. Back at the table, Anna told me that while she was saucin' up the frites, they had tried both of these gems: "So, you like it hot?" and "You like it SPICY?" Seriously, I can't make this shit up.
How it's done:
Two guys wandered in and sat between us and the shadesters - thanggod. Amsterdam plays an eclectic mix, to say the least. We were being serenaded by the soulful sounds of Golden Earring's "Radar Love." As usual, I needed a refill on the ketchup and garlic yumminess, and I noticed the guy at the next table was singing along. My college roomie always said that my secret superpower was knowing the words to every crap song ever written. (Muskrat Love, anyone?) I gave him some love for matching me in obscure lyrics skills. Three minutes later, the four of us were talking about our fantasty roadtrip: what car we'd choose, tuneage, etc.
The shadesters were rubbernecking like mad. Watch and learn, messieurs, watch and learn (while you're at it, button up the shirt - no one wants to see that!) Number one tip: don't treat women like walking twats (name of my next band.)
The crazy lyricist was named after his aunt (!!) by his incredibly hippy parents, and had quite the story. We all riffed about nomenclature (I call one of my dad's brothers, in translation, Uncle Baby-older- brother), SNL skits (Oswipe Johnson, of course), Las Vegas, and strip clubs (naturally.)
I left thinking that you never know when your next great conversation will be, and when you'll meet someone who makes worth talking to random people utterly worthwhile.