Friday, March 30, 2018

At the Coffee Shop


Yesterday, I was sitting in a coffee shop people watching. Note taking. My best ideas come in coffee shops.

A couple, fifty-ish, well dressed in khaki, twinnish, empty pockets on their cargo pants,leather hiking boots,serious vests,marching purposefully in.

She held the table while he did the ordering. I was astonished when he brought back 1 XL coffee and 1 large Morning Glory muffin.
He then proceeded to empty half the coffee into a green reusable cup she hauled out from her Roots bag while she halved the muffin with a plastic knife. They then ate the shared repast.

I thought to myself: not in a million years would I do that. Never have I done that. How would you arrive at the stage in life where this would be de rigeur for outings? Does it imply an extraordinary intimacy? When would be the first time this happened? Did they do this for every meal, halving eggs and bacon, the BBQ, the sandwich? Do they have individual taste buds or have they just melded into one? How are they when invited to dinner parties? (Oh two plates, one dinner please!). They were remarkably trim and healthy looking. Didn't speak to each other all through the snack, and showed a complete lack of curiosity for anyone else in the cafe. Then again, am I the only one taking notes?

Another couple in the corner were obviously having an affair. He was feeding her bits of an outrageously pink pastry. Her dress was a matching pink with black slashes in the pattern, short and sparkly. Around 40. Black tights, black leather jacket, dyed black hair cut teenage style. asymmetrically. He was a rumpled mid-thirties, brown curly hair, looked in a hurry but kept reassuring her, between feedings, with his free hand on hers, pressing, begging. The wind had blown his comb-over off his small bald spot, but she was facing him so wouldn't have been privy to what I saw. At one point a tear leaked out of her eye, "I'll tell her, I will," he pleaded,a bit too loudly, "It's just not the right time with the baby coming."

Another couple, women, sat across from me. She was thin as a razor, her heavier friend brought the fixings, passing her a black coffee and setting a pastry and frozen concoction down for herself. She was the more animated, the friend nodding silently as she sipped her coffee. I only caught bits but it involved a husband at sea and a suspicion of an affair he was having with the ship's cook as she kept calling the house when he was on leave to tell him jokes. "Jokes?" said Razor,"Dirty jokes?" "The way he laughs, well, yeah." "I wouldn't like that." "Well, girl, I don't like it at all."

An ongoing joke in my family(Daughter and Grandgirl and I are such people watchers!) is we pretend we have highly personal printed questionnaires to pass out to strangers to avoid all this speculation and surmising. ("Let's get this over with, pass him the questionnaire!")

But that would spoil the fun of the passing parade.



18 comments:

  1. I love watching people. And I too share the stories with my friends via FB messenger, especially when waiting for my husband at the eye surgeon's office. It is huge, much like a hospital with so many people coming and going.

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    1. Amazing really how complex and different we all are. How we react and engage with each other.

      XO
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  2. I like earwigging on other people's conversations but they're never as juicy as the ones you manage to overhear. The ones I'm privy to are always about work routines or someone's illness or the local litter problem.

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    1. It's the nuances that intrigue me and often the unsaid, the bitten off words.

      XO
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  3. Hi. About the couple who shared. My husband is unable to eat more than a small quantity of food at a time. He is nearly 85; has to really work at keeping his weight from dropping below 115 lbs. Never can he eat a full meal when we go out. Sometimes whatever it is is not something easily carried home. Several times we found ourselves paying high prices, then leaving half the food. Your mention of the muffin reminded me of a day a few months ago. We went to a sandwich shop near here; bought one sandwich, cut, and shared it. There were some delectable looking muffins. He told me no way could he eat one, but he would manage half. I was happy with that. My best friend has an elderly mother. We discussed this issue. She told me that when she and her mother go out, they always get an extra plate and buy one meal. I am thankful for having a practical solution to the problem. The money is not necessarily the issue----we just don't see the point in waste. Oh, and, I guess 54 years together would qualify us as intimate.

    The fact that they were fiftyish might change the reasoning; but, then, in this day of so much obesity, there is another fact to consider. From what you said, this couple was in good shape. Sometimes our own experiences don't facilitate our understanding of others' actions.


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    1. I am so glad you have thrown another light on this Rose. That is the best of blogging, we find other sides to stories we haven't thought of.

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  4. In all fairness. I would be a share-er and it has nothing to do with the money.Rarely can I eat a full anything sweet. Or a venti drink. So often we split the muffin or the lemon pound cake.

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    1. Well there we go again, Barbara, another voice and understanding heard!

      XO
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    2. I often share if a friend does not mind doing so as I do not need anymore extra weight nor want to waste time, money or food.

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    3. LOL. Never, ever, ever my coffee.

      XO
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    4. E - did you receive my snail mail????

      XO
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    5. Yes, indeed! It is much appreciated. I sent some back to you, too. Your card and gift were beautiful and I attempted to call the number on the back but received a message that it had been disconnected.

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    6. Delighted! Ah yes my old number, I will send you my new one.

      XO
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  5. I *wish* I could take such an interest in the people around me in a coffee shop! I've tried ... but usually can't hear their conversations well enough to stay focused on them. -Kate

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    1. My trick is to rarely glance at them. I have good hearing. I hold a book or write in a notebook. Disguised :)

      XO
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  6. It is quite common in India to order either one by two or two by three to share among friends so as not to waste large portions as well as to economise. This includes food and desserts as well as beverages. It is quite the accepted thing and no one bats an eyelid when this is done in a neighbouring table.

    The other two stories are quite fascinating too!

    I too watch people when I eat out.

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    1. I've done it too in Indian restaurants where all the food is so delicious we want to share every bowlful no matter how small!

      XO
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  7. My sisters and I used to invent lives for everyone we saw on the street while waiting for our mother to shop. I've never grown out of the habit. I used to keep a running list I titled "Snippets" - bits of conversation I'd overheard. And I've often wondered if I myself appear in anyone else's life as a fictional character!

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