And though I know it's not necessarily as interesting to the rest of the free world just how fascinating I find the snippets of conversations of people I don't even know as they rave on and on about the minutia of their days, today I just can't seem to help myself but sit here in this coffee shop and watch and listen to this gaggle of people and think about what wonderful...what truly fascinating characters they'd be. In a book. A book I would, theoretically, write. By myself. With the help of people who are telling their stories for all to hear.
But I don't write books.
I write blog posts, though, and today I'm going to tell you about these people I find so fascinating, through the safe distance of my anonymity. Because you know what? They're all just a little too loud. In fact, people are talking so loudly that I can't help but think they sort of want me to write about them in my blog. "Make me famous" their tones seem to call out to me. "Make up a story about me so that the material I'm sharing with you will never be forgotten." I'm stealing from them for the sheer enjoyment of writing about them.
- So first there's the man with only one leg. Which no doubt has very little to do with his character. And the story would go on and nothing much about the tale would be any different than it is now. But I tend to interact with the world in a visual manner, and so it seems important, as I set the stage - so to speak - that I tell you that this particular man has only one leg, and he walks with the aid of crutches. He also has a comb over but the long part of his hair that covers the evidently balding spot? That part keeps falling down in his face. He doesn't seem to notice the extra hair all that much. The man who walks with the aid of crutches is possibly somewhat difficult to please, on occasion. I believe this because a few minutes ago, his son took his entire order and walked up to the counter where they were just handing me my highly-satisfactory order, and said, "My dad's soup is cold. And this sandwich is cold too. He won't eat it this way." To which the woman on the other side of the counter said, "Okay, just throw it away and we'll make you a whole new one." Which led me down an excruciating path that contemplated the world in which I live and how there are starving people who won't be fed tonight, at all, but this hugemongous plate of food is now going to be tossed in the waste bin because somebody thought the temperature was substandard. Of course that voice in my head was answered by the other one. The one that is conditioned by the society in which we currently dwell. And it asked me what would I have them do, on a practical level, with that sandwich? Seeing as how there are health code regulations and laws that govern the activities that might curtail the spread of disease when food is being served to the public? But it still made me sad and all I could do was ease my own western-culture-numbed conscience by reminding myself that at least this establishment donates unsold food to local non-profit organizations at the end of each day. At which time my flow of thoughts were interrupted by the son saying, emphatically. "Dad likes his food really, really hot. So maybe you could heat this one way more than usual." At which time I decided, for good measure that I'm even more glad than before that I already have a great dad and that this hot-food-loving dad is not my own.
- Meanwhile, over here on the booth near me sit two women talking about The Grace of God. And every time they share their thoughts with each other, their voices get a little louder. And it makes me just a little bit sad because all this talk about God's Grace seems, to me, the sort of topic that might make someone feel, oh, I don't know...happy? Or filled with gratitude and peace? Something good, though, that makes your face light up a little. With the aid of Divine grace. But these women both look like they must be talking about the ills of famine and war and their faces both hold these emphatic expressions of weary, dreary doom and neither of them seem to recognize that their expressions just don't seem to reflect the topic of their chat. They seem to both feel anything but happy and grateful. Surely I'm missing something from my limited awareness of their chat.
- There over in the middle of the room sits a part of a family: a dad and a mom and a skinny pre-teen girl with a brunette ponytail and lots of layered pink tops, who looks like perhaps she would rather be somewhere else today. And across the table from them sits a very tall, very severe woman who looks perhaps the age of the mom and dad's own mother, but I get a sense that she's not because they're telling her things about their own family, of which she doesn't seem a part. The dad right now is talking about how they've just celebrated an early Thanksgiving with their older son who is going to have to be in another state with his fiance, picking out a house. And so rather than miss having the entire family all together as they prefer, it's better to celebrate a month early. While he talks, the woman to whom his information is directed is sitting with her back very straight, looking directly at him, barely blinking. She's eating a salad, her left hand is in her lap laying open on the napkin that is draped on her leg. Her keys are sitting on her leg, very close to her hand. I can't help but think she looks like she's about to grab those keys as soon as the family looks away, and run out that door.
- And that guy over there? The one who drove up in the red Ford Ranger with the Grateful Dead sticker on the back window and the crack in the front? That really needs to be his teenaged daughter with whom he's eating. Because the idea of him being here on a date, which it looks only slightly like he actually is, would be unbearable. And, well, just wrong. She's as pretty as he is handsome. I mean, their beauty is matched, in a superficial sort of way, which is somehow aesthetically nice when you're observing people on dates. But they seem so familiar and although I can't hear a word they're saying, actually, it matters very much to me at this moment, that he is, in fact, her father and not her date.
Aside from all that, there's more but it's started to hit me that a) this is really, really long and I didn't mean to write so much, and b) there's more than a little evidence that I am, in fact, procrastinating. And that if I'll stop being nosey and writing about the strangers who surround me, I can actually accomplish something of value which was already on my list. Yep. This is more than long enough.
I wonder if I ever will write a book, though?
Eeeew. Creepy, cute, red-truck guy just opened the door on her side of the vehicle, when they left the building. And he did not touch her on the waist the way a father touches his daughter. Okay. So let's do this. Let's say she uses all those beauty products that are guaranteed to keep us looking young. And those products? They actually work. Yes. That's what we're saying today. We have to say that...trust me, we do.