Wednesday, November 01, 2006

My nerves are a little raw today. I blame it on Halloween candy, given to me by neighbors who were passing out the goods to the kids. I sat with them a bit and it was fun to see all the kids.

I'm at Starbucks, my usual one. I was writing a good cover letter when I was interrupted and now I just can't get back to it. It was a customer that interrupted me, therefore interrupting my mojo. For this particular letter I need mojo. I tried to continue where I'd left off, but it was futile.

I guess I should be grateful that I'm a person that people are drawn to, but sometimes it can get very annoying. I chose to come to my regular place today hoping it was early enough to avoid the usual people, but no. This particular person takes way too much energy and didn't fail today in doing that. When he asked me if he was interrupting, I told him I was in the middle of a cover letter that I wanted to finish, and he just sat there and continued to talk. I gave several indications that I wanted to get back to work, but he stayed for twenty minutes.

He asked me if I was going to be here tomorrow and I said no. I like this place but it's become a hard place to concentrate.

I've been mixing it up because last week, it was rapid fire interruption. Last week, after exchanging small talk with a man with whom I'd done so in the past, he left the store only to immediately return, drag a chair to my table, sit and say, "So there." It was wholly awkward as I didn't know what to say. Turns out, neither did he. He just sat there and gauged my reaction. Note to men: If you're going to make a bold move like that, have a conversation planned. After an a few silent moments, he told me he thought I was a writer. I asked if that had something to do with the laptop I was typing on. He said that it was the descriptive language I used when I spoke. We chatted, awkwardly until thank God the Korean came in and sat down. She told me later over email that she felt bad for interrupting us, and I said "For Christ's sake, don't," then told her what had happened.

Thing is, I don't fault people for these kinds of things. Sure, I was annoyed, but only because my work was being interrupted. But really, can I fault someone for looking for a friend or just a friendly conversation? I reminded myself of this when I looked across at him, that he was a human being with feelings. I closed my laptop and decided to go with the moment and not be so annoyed. As long as it doesn't happen again and again.

I've been taking refuge at another Starbucks. The first time I did so, it was crowded and lively. The one I go to is in a pretty rich neighborhood. The new one is in a really rich neighborhood. And with rich neighborhoods come parents who are on the boards of their kid's athletic teams. In this case, it was the swim board, and they came for a meeting and talked animatedly about going to more meets vs. more practice, and how besides natural athletic ability, other kids had gotten so much faster. They spoke of team jackets, and listening to them my own swim team experiences came rushing back. I remember how proud I was of my team jacket and the cheers when I'd won a race at a meet. I remembered the deep utility sinks in the girls' locker room and how I'd fill the sink up with hot water and sit in it neck deep after practice, or sometimes when the pool water was just too cold, I'd beg my coach to go there early. Sometimes, rarely, he would let me. Oh, the anticipation of walking down those stairs to the locker room, already seeing the steam from the hot water as it filled the sink. I loved having the whole place to myself. A little girl in a big sink full of hot water. Heaven. This was in Springfield, Illinois where we lived from when I was around six until eight. The pool was a top of the line indoor facility, complete with diving pool and bleachers.

One of the men in the group I found very attractive. He was quiet, dressed in a suit, and mostly just listened. This was before I figured out they were swim parents, and we met eyes a few times. Just mutual interest, I think. It was his stoic nature that added to his attractiveness.

After they left, I stood to leave and noticed a purse beside my chair. It was a very expensive designer purse that looked brand new. I asked a couple who were the only people in the store at the time, if it was theirs and they said it wasn't. So, I picked it up and gave it to Max, an employee whom I knew from the other store. Mind you, the only person that I knew from the other store.

Everything was in it. Wallet, ID, credit cards, keys. She'd probably gotten a ride from another parent, therefore didn't immediately notice it was gone. I knew because they were looking for a phone number inside her purse so they could reach her. I thought about her worry once she realized it was gone, and how lucky she was that someone with honest intentions found it. I heard from Max last night that the lady and purse were reunited. Hey, we swim people look out for each other.

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