His name is Allen. I know this because I got a peek at his armband that he wears for the state mental hospital where he spends his nights.
During the days he is free to roam the streets near by and inevitably he makes his stop here at my coffee shop where he always buys a 12 oz. drip coffee.
I learned quickly that you really must give Allen his change in nickels and pennies otherwise you'll end up robbing him blind.
You see, this elderly man with his straggly beard and hair-in his crusty trench coat and straw hat that has a green plastic visor-which has long ago stopped shading from the sun....this man is a lover of words.
He carries dictionaries and a pocket thesaurus in his bag. And his favorite words?! Well, his favorite words of the day he will declare with a flourish and a laugh and then-a penny. A penny that will make that perfect little clinking sound as it hits the other coins in tip jar. It seems to be just the thing to get the affect of Allen's words across. Sometimes he'll sit quietly in the corner as I serve customers and then he'll get up and come over and drop in another coin... and then I'll know that he's probably just had a new revelation that he's particularly proud of....
I've sat, on slow days, at a table with Allen. Conversations with Allen make no sense at all, just a jumble of ideas-captalism-share croppers-corn-John F. Kennedy-the hokey pokey...these are all part of one very large thought and SOME HOW they are connected, though for the life of me, I have no idea how. But, with a cup of black coffee between us and several more "money ideas" ( as he calls them) yet to go for the day- sense doesnt seem to matter too much.