As much as I’d like to ignore this and see it fade away, I won’t feel right until I do this, so here goes…

I didn’t go back to the coffee shop yesterday. Well, okay, I drove up outside, saw that the guy was not only there but had brought his friends along, and I decided not to go in. To be honest, I was afraid. Yes, I was afraid of some stupid schoolyard showdown where I got shouted down and verbally bashed by the cranks who’ve been mouthing off in my comments all week. But more than that, I was afraid that somewhere along the way, somewhere in the process of airing my frustration over a stranger’s minor etiquette transgressions, I’d become the bad guy, that my position in this matter was not as defensible as I thought it was.

As I said earlier, my blog has a relatively small readership. When I posted my piece, I did it thinking the odds of it ever getting back to the guy in the coffee shop or anyone who knew him were infinitesimally slim. I never anticipated that for the first time, something I wrote would be linked on Defamer and read a large number of people. My intention was never to humiliate anyone, just to vent.

By the time I learned of the exposure the blog was getting, it had already been read by large numbers of people. It was already clear that the spread of the story was beyond my control. The odds of the entry being seen by the guy in the picture or people who might recognize him were now much greater. So I asked for an apology. I figured that would be the easiest way to resolve things. Nobody else knows exactly what happened in the coffee shop besides me and the guy in the picture, so I figured it was only fair that I offer him an opportunity for a rebuttal. I hoped he’d admit that he was a little inconsiderate, that he should’ve said something before sitting at my table, and then I could proclaim that he wasn’t such a creep after all. I’m a sucker for happy endings.

He chose not to contact me, and instead, his friends came to his defense. I can’t blame them for doing that. If someone called my friend a creep, I’d be pissed off, too. I stand by my version of the events that transpired in the coffee shop, and I still think the guy in the picture was rude on those two occasions, but I have to admit that things got out of hand, and I’m not going to pass the buck for that onto anyone who linked me or anyone who fanned the flames with malicious comments. I take responsibility for what goes on on this blog, and I’ll admit that the punishment was way out of line with the crime.

That being said, the tone of the commenting was also out of line with my crime. I decided early on not to censor or respond to any of it, allowing the haters to spread their vitriol and expose their true nature. But that, too, got out of hand. I discovered that most of the comments were coming from the same two people, posting again and again under different fake identities. At some point, allowing them to spout off interminably and assault my character with complete impunity seemed overly generous of me, especially in a forum I created for the purpose of expressing myself. So if you’ve noticed that the ranters have suddenly disappeared, it’s because I started banning anyone whose comments I found offensive. This is my home. If you insult me, I kick you out, and you can find somewhere else to orchestrate your hatefest.

So to the haters, I say goodbye. You made your point. You’re not welcome here anymore.

To their friend, I offer a sincere apology. This went too far, and I regret that it’s taken me so long to admit that. You’re still welcome to contact me with your version of the events, but if you don’t have anything to say, that’s fine. I respect that. For my part, though, I’m truly sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt or embarrass you. I take back calling you a creep and my mortal enemy. I don’t know you, and two mildly rude acts is not enough for me generalize about your character. I intended my piece and my description of you to be comical, but I can understand why the humor was lost on you. I’ve also taken down your picture. LA is a big city, and I’ll probably never run into you again, but I really have no interest in having a mortal enemy, and I hope we can put this behind us.

Nobody or nothing is making me say any of this — except, of course, for my own conscience.

And unless I hear from the guy in question directly, I won’t have anything else to say on this matter.

This blog was meant to be a reflection of who I am, and for the last week, I’m not sure it’s been that. It was also meant to be light and fun and entertaining. Let’s return to that.

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