I’m at odds with my desk-top computer today, it won’t write anything worth printing. So, my laptop and I are at Peet’s Coffee & Tea – my favorite spot to get lost in the din. The place is packed and wild: kids romping around, boisterous people laughing and shrieking, a loud argument whose every other word is cr*p or sh*t or choc*l*te. Crazy stuff… probably the full moon or some celestial body in retrograde … like my kitchen.
I spot two bar-stool chairs at the bean counter: one contains a live body; one harbors an inanimate object. I’m in! I ask the guy if I can use the chair his bag occupies even though he knows and I know he can’t say no. It’s Café Law. Nevertheless, he shoves the bag to the floor, looks at me as if I asked him to toss his mother into the trash, and stares back into his laptop.
Guess we won’t be doing much friendly-banter about beans this morning.
I decide to give him some leeway – after all, he’s wearing scrubs. I’ve always found people in uniforms to be awfully busy – take Wonder Woman or The Jolly Green Giant. Goodness knows who they’re saving day in and day out. I know that canned peas saved my own mother’s life day after day …. after day. Mr. Scrubs is probably a doctor discovering big, life-saving stuff even as I gawk.
I don’t like to ask people in uniforms, especially hospital gear, to do anything when they’re obviously off duty. I figure they do enough.
I start to write by organizing my belongings. I’m all fidgety today so this takes a full fifteen minutes because papers keep falling, I can‘t find my phone which I must have handy (in case my son’s school calls to tell me his head is stuck in the fence), and my sweater falls off my shoulders three times before I stuff it in my bag. Aware that Mr. Scrubs has moved his chair slightly away from my cacophony, I try to tone it down.
Not happening. When I finally climb into the chair I realize there is absolutely no leg space at the bean counter. None. I squirm to reach my computer and my knees complain. I try a side-saddle position, but my back complains. I move to a not-so-lady-like posture; Miss Manners complains. I try the healthy option of standing at the counter but I’m too short to semi-comfortably reach the keys. Back to side-saddle where I manage a whole 37 seconds of stillness. Maybe Miss Manners will find me a seat.
Mr. Scrubs side-glances me for the third time which prompts my Inner Squirrel Freeze – the one that says “I am not a squirrel, I am a rock. I was not running across the street even though I am somehow in the center of it. Do not look at me, I am not here.“
I wonder if Mr. Scrubs will slip a Valium into my coffee to get some peace. I wonder if that’s not such a bad idea.
Mid-Squirrel, a mom and child bonk my chair as they walk by. The mom apologizes, the child smiles and shows me her pink bunny. I offer a “not-to-worry-I-get-it smile”. They remind me that I, too, am charged with keeping a child alive 24/7 despite his lack of memory for doing chores. My uniform just happens to be dark circles under my eyes and a crumpled schedule written on last-week’s grocery list.
I then remind myself that mom’s do enough, too, so I put myself back on equal status with Mr. Scrubs and decide to squirm at will…which, oddly enough, calms me right down.
I find this interesting. I allow myself to be fidgety and now I’m not? I pose a question to myself and ready my hands at the keyboard, prepared to be wholly enlightened by my inner knowing.
I ask: What else am I not allowing myself to be or do?
But out of the corner of my eye I see an open chair by the window…with ample leg space! Enlightenment, shmitenment – Miss Manners just worked a miracle. I wonder what her uniform looks like…
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