Ask Cafe Darkness

Holy shit, y’all. We actually got a legit question this time and not one that we made up because we think it’s funny.  Ha!  Enjoy!

Dear TLW and Barista,

First of all I LOVE your blog! I look forward to reading it everyday and it puts a big smile on my face. You two are such classy ladies and I love hearing about your day to day escapades.

Ok, so I have a question/statement. I was in the gym the other day in my own world listening to my ipod and loving being by myself for point two seconds. I was on the treadmill and a man got on right next to me even though there was four other open ones. That annoyed me, give me my space dammit, I am trying to be alone. Anyhoos, the really annoying part was the man cleared his throat every 10-30 seconds while he was working out RIGHT next to me. He did this for the next 30 mins. while I was on my machine. I thought I was going to punch him in the mouth and scream.  My mind went right to T saur and how you guys must feel everyday. How the HELL do you deal with that form of torture every day?!?! Hearing someone clear their throat over and over again is the most annoying thing I have heard in a long time and I have a toddler. I stared him down and began to talk to myself out loud like, “Are you fucking kidding me?” “oh really, you are going to play me like that”. I felt by the end of my 30 min. workout that I was going a little crazy myself. My question is, how would you guys handle that situation? And is throat clearing contagious? I felt like I had to clear my throat after listening to the man over and over again.

Thanks for all your help TLW and Barista! Keep the laughs coming.

Yours Truly,


TLW says:

First off, I haven’t been called ‘classy’ in a long time-maybe ever-so thanks for that.  Secondly, I can relate to your question on a level that you can’t even fathom. As I type these words out this very second T Saur is clearing his throat loudly and continuously and will for the next eight hours.
Start by dealing with it passive aggressively.  Ask the man if he had a cold and would he like a cough drop?  When he asks for clarification you can reply, “Oh it’s just that you were clearing your throat quite a bit and I thought this would help”.  If that doesn’t work (which it won’t) you could then start by being less passive and more aggressive. Clear your throat and see if he notices.  If he looks at you simply nod and say, “Right?”  If that doesn’t work (which it won’t) then the only other option is go postal on his ass and scream at him to stop his clearing his god damn throat every two seconds, sweet Baby Jesus! Perhaps you could wield a letter opener or butter knife at him in a threatening manner.  This should do the trick.  I’m going to do this later today so I’ll let you know how it goes from the unemployment line.

Barista says:

Hmm…we’re classy.  Yes, yes we are.  If by classy you mean I drink whiskey on Tuesdays, get punched in the face, scold strangers in grocery stores and called a bitch in public on a Sunday morning, then of course, I am classy.  In my defense, I did wear my pearls and speak softly during all of the shenanigans above.
The key difference between Tsaur and your gym buddy is that you could leave him and move to another machine.  You could, but I don’t advise this.  You were there first and he should learn to not be such a stain in public.  If you follow TLW’s advice he may stop clearing his throat.  He may also die if you follow her advice, and in that case, I hope you know how to properly dispose of a carcass.
My advice is to be more annoying than the throat clearer.  Let me give you a few examples to try.  Pretend your imaginary cell phone is ringing.  Actually make phone ringing noises with your mouth.  Then answer your two-finger cell phone and get into a shouting match with no one about how your kitty cat was not dry cleaned properly and you’re not going to pay for such shoddy service.  Then flip the script and end your fake phone call by saying something like, you’re in my heart forever.
If the throat clearer has not left by now, take it to the next level.  Become a ventriloquist and sing an annoying song in a very high pitched, small voice.  I really like Madonna’s old song La Isla Bonita, I mean who doesn’t?  Do not move your lips, but sing with your mouth wide open.  This is creepy.  Practice in a mirror if you don’t believe me.  It helps a lot if you only sing about two lines of your song.  The key is to sing these lines over and over and over….
And if this doesn’t make the throat clearer shuffle off?  Turn off your treadmill.  Face him.  Stare at him intensely.  Each time he clears his throat, clear yours ten times louder.  He will leave – trust me.  No one can withstand that kind of scrutiny and not be uncomfortable.


2 thoughts on “Ask Cafe Darkness

  1. I cannot stand when people use the machines next to me! I like to punish myself for constantly eating out and not being all fitness-like by going to the gym at 5am. And oddly enough, although it’s never busy (<20 people) someone (normally a hardcore gym rat who puts me and my sad ass to shame) always manages to workout right next to me on the elliptical. I've tried mean mugging them as I see them eyeing the machine next to me, but it doesn't seem to work. Now I have a few more things to try. Thanks ladies!

  2. Good advice ladies! This reminds me of the Curb Your Enthusiasm episode when Larry David was eating lunch by himself and the guy next to him was obnoxiously loud on his cell so Larry started to pretend talk on his pretend cell…fight fire with fire 🙂

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