Dirty Margaret’s is the name of a little café I am sitting in right now. It’s a curious name, one which I would imagine gets a fair amount of attention from visitors like myself. I wonder to myself, is Margaret reputed for being particularly dirty, and if so how did she earn this reputation? Clearly she’s not shying away from it, which I appluad her for, but with no sign of anyone working here who might be the aforementioned Margaret I’m weary of letting my imagination run amuck, so to speak.

It’s a small ‘off the beaten track’ kind of place that I stumbled upon quite by chance. Behind the counter stands a carefully scruffled hipster kid sporting the kind of facial fluff a 20 year old works hard to cultivate. He’s wearing a wool beanie hat and is dressed in clothes that must have either borrowed from his grandfather or purchased at an over-priced vintage fashion store.

My curiosity about the name of the café needed to be satisfied, so as he hands me the change for the drink I’ve ordered I ask him if Margaret is actually known for being particularly dirty.

“I don’t know man,” he says with a shrug and a rather blank expression that shows me that he really has no idea where my inquiry has come from. Contrary to what I thought it would seem this question isn’t as common as one might think.

With a little humor and just enough laugh in my voice I replied “Well, I’m thinking she must be a real slut to have this whole placed named in her honor, right?”

On reflection, I accept that perhaps I should have given myself a moment of pause before I posed that question to the hipster kid. Early indications showed that we were probably not on the same wavelength, so expecting him to get into my groove might have been a little ambitious.

“Margaret is my Mum,” He says in a distinctly unimpressed tone that clearly conveys the ‘I think you’re a dick’ subtext.

“Ah.. Righto.” I reply as I stand across the counter from him feeling more than a little awkward. I scan around the cafe quickly looking for something funny to comment on, but more humor isn’t going to rescue this situation.

“She grows all the stuff that’s in the sandwiches here,” he says pointing to the sandwich counter. “Maybe there’s another kind of dirty in the world?” he continued with a very definite ‘why don’t you go fuck yourself’ air in his moody monotone voice.

I look at the sandwiches and consider buying one in the hope that by doing so I might offset the offence I’ve caused. The trouble is they’re all vegetarian—probably vegan in fact—and while I’m not averse to a little leaf now and then, if you ask me a sandwich isn’t a sandwich unless there’s flesh amongst the foliage. Wisely though, I decide to keep that particular thought to myself.

“I’ll bring your drink over,” he tells me. I take a seat by the window next to a poster showing what household waste products are particularly well suited to composting. As I sit there I can’t help but feel a little like I did on the countless occasions I was banished to sit in the ‘naughty corner’ of the classroom back when I was a kid.

A couple of minutes later my drink arrives. A cappuccino with a frothy head sprinkled with chocolate dust. As I sip it I try to suppress the thought that there might well be the spit of a 20 year old male blending with the sugar that I’ve just added. I look over at the hipster server. Could he do that? Would he? If I were him, would I?

Note to self: There is another kind of dirty out there.

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