So last Saturday night, I headed down to the 12 Galaxies to support some friends (including Royal Coffee buyer, Alex Mason) playing in the worldwide Emergenza music festival. That and any excuse to see Frank Chu on stage is always occasion to get out of the house on a Saturday night.

Stopping off at nearby Ritual Roasters beforehand, I ran into Gabe Boscana on duty and asked him about the recent U.S. Barista Championship (his answer, after six days of the SCAA conference: “Long!”). After downing a great macchiato (thanks again, Gabe), I caught a brief glimpse of one of those strange, quintessential S.F. moments while heading out the door.

Sitting in the corner, on the sofa besides the window, is one of those classic, encrusted café lingerers who looks like they haven’t showered in four days. What is he curled up reading? None other than Dale Carnegie’s magnum opus, How to Win Friends & Influence People. My mind raced with the possibilities. But alas, I then realized that it lacks any chapters on personal hygiene…

What all the street people are reading these days