So I went to the Sound View Cafe in Seattle’s Pike Place Market today, where I have spent many afternoons over the last decade sipping coffee, eating desserts, and writing in my journal, or on my laptop.

It’s a fantastic spot with a beautiful view. And they have convenient electrical outlets along the wall… good for plugging in laptops.

In the past, the dining has been mediocre, but the ambiance and view have been worth it.

Not anymore.

Today, I ordered a piece of chocolate mousse, and I couldn’t eat it. It smelled like mildew. I immediately lost my appetite.

So, rather than complain to hard-working folks and disrupt my afternoon, I scraped the rest of the dessert into the trash and contented myself to stay. sip the coffee, and write. I had work to do, so I didn’t want to stir up trouble.

I hadn’t been there ten minutes before my waiter, an agreeable young fellow, approached and said, “I see you’re going to be getting some work done. Since you’re going to be here a while, let me get you a better table.” He moved me from the back corner to a perfect spot beside the window with that fabulous, panoramic view.

I was impressed, and planned to leave a big tip when I went back to order a different dessert.

Another waitress suddenly approached me and said, “I’m sorry sir, but I’ll have to ask you to leave.”

I was stunned. “Why?”

“We don’t allow laptops in here.”

“But… your friendly co-worker just gave me the table where he thought I could work most comfortably.”

“My manager just stepped in,” she said. “He saw you, and informed me that I’d have to ask you to leave.” Then she leaned in and said, “Please don’t blame me. It’s my manager.”

“You don’t allow laptops?!” I wanted to shout. “Last I checked, this was a Seattle cafe! I came downtown to spend the afternoon here!. And I just spent almost ten bucks for the privilege, as I have so many times before. Heck, I have photographs of my friends and I working at this very table!” (I didn’t say this. I was still too surprised.”

“I’ll take your coffee,” she said. “You can go.”

Too thunderstruck for words, I packed my bag and left.

So, for what it’s worth: The Sound View Cafe has lost the calm, cool, casual ambience that once made it enjoyable for me. The manager, whoever he is, has made that clear.

And the chocolate mousse smells like moldy bread.

It makes me sad, but I won’t ever step through that door again. There are about a zillion other places on Seattle’s waterfront that welcome folks who want to sit, sip coffee, and write. I encourage you to try any of them instead.