[I used to do "morning pages" on the regular, but I've gotten out of the habit. It's a way to get all my thoughts out so my mind can just focus on fiction. But lately I've been dabbling in creative nonfiction, too, so I've decided to start posting some of these entries. Here goes nothing.]
The barista calls me “hon” twice while filling my order for an English Breakfast tea. She is probably twenty years younger than me, which means I have possibly reached the age where age is a liability, where age makes me grandmotherly, where age means I have to be talked to loudly and slowly, in a patient customer service voice.
I pay the $3.45, which is basically just for the tea bag. The manager compliments my shoes, which are green, and asks if I wore them just for today. It’s not until I’m sitting down with my laptop open that I realize it’s St. Patrick’s Day and for possibly the first time in my life I have unconsciously dressed appropriately for the situation.
“We’re all out, I’m sorry,” the barista says to someone picking up a mobile order. The man looks annoyed, takes his drink in disgust, and leaves through the double doors, which flap shut behind him.
Someone taps me on the shoulder and I jump. I’ve been thinking about nouns and verbs, and when I think I imagine I’m invisible. “Is there a code for the bathroom?” the woman wants to know. She is old enough to be my grandmother, although really I’m referring to the age my grandmother was when I was younger, because if alive, both of my dead grandmothers would be well into their 100s. It’s only because I’m startled by the touch that I don’t help her. I know the code. I’ve heard the baristas sing it out to every other person who enters. “You can ask for the code at the counter,” I tell her, and go back to thinking.
Out the window, cats slink by, dash under the outdoor furniture, scuttle around the corner and disappear into the bushes by the drive-thru. Why doesn’t someone adopt one of these cats? Why don’t I adopt one of these cats?
That’s crazy, I can’t have a cat.
The Usual Couple come in. I see them here often and wonder how they can afford treinte iced teas and grande mochas every day, since they are clearly retired and drive a car that has had a sizeable dent as long as I’ve been aware of them. He has had an injury of some kind and walks deliberately now, one foot forward and the other forward exactly to the place where the first foot stops, and repeat. I wonder why the wife who can clearly afford Starbucks on the daily doesn’t spring for a haircut; she would look so much better. But even as I think it, I know that’s rude of me. Once I heard the husband refer to Michelle Obama as a man, and so by default I don’t like them. But also once I saw him pay for a homeless man’s coffee and sandwich, and sometimes people are more complex than they seem at first sight. Not all good, not all bad, not always wrong, not always right.
The weather is lovely and so we aren’t talking about it. People enter in shorts, exit to linger under the green umbrellas to smoke and chat with friends. Four women have been talking at a table on the other side of the restaurant for a couple of hours now, ever since I entered with the big plans for what I was going to write, how I was going to revive my flagging writing career, how I was absolutely not going to go online and look for a new dress for an occasion that hasn’t yet presented itself to me. One of the women is the one who tapped me on the shoulder. I decide to forgive her for this, since anyway she doesn’t know there is anything to forgive, and the burden is all mine. The women look happy. The women are glad to have each other in their lives.
A young couple comes in. Young is relative, like old, or older. They are each wearing hoodies and joggers and carrying books. Maybe they are coming right from campus, which is just over the freeway. Maybe they have met to study. Maybe they meet here every day before class because they can’t imagine a day where they don’t see each other.
A man smiles at me as he enters, and I wonder if he thinks I’m someone else. It takes a beat before I remember how to engage my facial muscles, and I smile back.
3/23/2023 09:17:51 am
Your blog made me wonder how regulars,refer to,you.A regular? Writer?pretty young woman on the corner?
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