There aren't as many regulars at the Border's cafe as there are the library (there used to be...maybe they got tired of seeing me); there are always two or three people sitting at tables, their faces bathed in the glow of a laptop computer screen, but I rarely see the same people on any given day. Perhaps because there's no free wireless connection, unlike the library. Or perhaps because people simply don't consider it a place to hang out several times a week.

But there is Alex. The last few weeks he's been there every day that I have; he sits at the same table, a lightweight laptop computer in front of him, with either email open or Yahoo there for the world to see.

No, I don't know how he's connecting. My wireless card detects several networks, but they're all secure. Which is a good thing, because I'm there avoiding the lure of the Internet, not to engage in it.

But Alex. I know his name is Alex because, in the span of an hour and a half, he will make a call or three or four on his cell phone, and says quite loudly, "This is Alex!"

I also know these things about Alex:

  1. He is a very honest person. He says so, just about every day; to whomever he's speaking, he feels compelled to point out, "I'm very honest, I expect you to be honest, too," and he makes this declaration several times during each call. Apparently, the people with whom he is dealing aren't as honest as he.
  2. He is quite educated. This is obvious, because no matter what other people say to him, he has also done that, been there, seen it, and created the T-shirt before he burned it. Alex apparently knows everything, and I'm guessing he derived this knowledge from Yahoo.
  3. The employees like him very much, and do his bidding. This I know because he gets up from his special table at least once every time I'm there, and says to whomever is working the counter, "Watch my stuff." He knows they like him that much, because he doesn't even have to wait for an answer, he just wanders off because he knows they will guard his possessions as their own.
  4. He is opening his own business. This is evidenced by the How To Open A Business books he brings into the cafe, "borrowed" from the stacks on the other side of the store. I'm sure he puts them back in perfect condition. And because he is so honest, I'm sure he asks before he uses the store as his own personal library.
  5. Alex is an immigrant. At least, he sounds Russian.
  6. I do like Alex's accent.

I spent over three hours there to day, three wonderfully Alexless hours. I redlined a manuscript (not mine) and formatted submissions for a new We Are The Kitties book. I was about to open my own work when he arrived, laptop bag in hand, and I sighed as he sat at the table next to me. His special place.

I miss Library Bob. I'd go back there, but I haven't seen him the last few times I tried to work there; I'm sure he's read all the books by now and has moved on to better things.

I need new regulars.

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