The chap sitting across from me looks well past his sell-by date. He has very dark eyes, almost black like those of a cartoon character, and is dressed from the neck down in black leather. Further adding to this sinister picture he sports a Bob Marley style hat with dreadlocks attached (under which I am confident he is bald.) He seems content and collected in spite of his eccentric appearance but soon proves me wrong. As soon as the waitress appears it is clear he is doing his very best to freak her out. “Do you have a laptop?” he sleazily inquires. “Where can I buy a cheap laptop, hen?” This guy could be dangerous.
Behind me is a trendy little Italian gentleman who I know is Italian because he was speaking loudly into his mobile phone a few moments ago in Italian. His hair was obviously once dark and it is now a dignified salty grey – saying that, it looks dignified on him but may not look so on a drunk or a flasher or a member of the BNP. When I said trendy before I was referring to his dress sense. He is dressed well for his age – late 50s perhaps – and is wearing a royal blue Puffa jacket and black trousers with a pair of Prada trainers. His bike is chained to a post outside Ryan’s and he is alone, drinking what looks like an espresso. He seems at ease with himself unlike a lot of people who, when sitting on their own in cafes, are self conscious and tug at their clothes or keep smoothing their hair over.
Two middle-aged gentlemen sit to my right and the fellow facing me looks like he has just come from watching a football match. A Hearts scarf confirms this for me as does idle football banter. They have ordered steak sandwiches and are now chatting away like old pals, which is lovely. My chosen subject has close cut silvery hair and bright blue eyes. His is actually quite handsome and has a round face and prominent tummy that tells me that he enjoys the steak sandwich experience here at Ryan’s. He seems happy when talking about his children who play rugby and hockey at one of Edinburgh’s independent schools.