social stutters

This morning I sat at Starbucks with my cup of coffee and slice of pumpkin bread. The sun was warm, the chair was comfortable and I had 20 minutes before I needed to be at the kids school. A middleaged man with a laptop bag, venti iced frapp and nice shoes came along and asked if the chair next to me was taken. “Nope, all yours” I said. I minded my own business and he his, but sensed him looking at me a couple times. It wasn’t creepy or anything (don’t worry mom, I was safe) but it was obvious enough that I felt I was supposed to say something. So i went against everything inside of me and said, “How’re you today?”

Wrong question. There were screeching brakes in my head as I watched him wrestle internally as to whether or not he would be answering my inquiry. This is exactly why I don’t ask. And yet, part of me hurt for him – that there was a struggle to answer at all. Another part of me was amazed that he didn’t throw off a “good” or “fine”.

He informed me simply that everything would be great on Saturday. (Not today mind you. And not tomorrow.) He is living forward to Saturday. I didn’t quite know how to reply and certainly wasn’t about to investigate. “Well, it’s still early in the day today. Maybe it can be a good one too.” Here’s hoping anyway, right? Me and my Venti Pike Place optimism. Yeah. No. Saturday.

He got to work on his laptop, and I continued watching people and jotting notes & making lists in my dayplanner. And as I did, I sipped hot coffee and missed my husband more than ever before.

I grabbed my phone and texted him. I miss doing life with you.

I tease Brian a lot that I love having the bed to myself when he’s gone. That I sleep better, that I like making my own schedule and doing my own thing. And it’s true. I do. But something about this man’s response made me miss Brian in a way I hadn’t felt in quite some time.

Much like the guy at Starbucks, I’m looking forward to Saturday too. After a week alone with the kids and not feeling 100% myself, i am excited for Saturday when B is back home and we get to have our morning coffee together in our pajamas on the couch. The girls will try to outdo each other for his attention. And then I will too (and I will win, at least for a little while.) Saturday will be great, but today has been a good day too.

I’m grateful for the awkward interaction I had this morning. I was reminded to be in the moment, wherever that found me today. To enjoy the day and roll with all the non-perfection it would bring me, and not miss out on something because my head was two days in front of me. Maybe I was just more aware of my world today, because I found a lot of wonderful moments tucked in the ordinary.

I headed over to the school and helped In Avery’s class. As I was finishing up, the kids were walking down the hall to their next special and each and every child either waved or said “Hi” or “Bye” … but most of them said “Thank you”. I had only spent 2 minutes with each child but their collective appreciation was overwhelming. And completely unexpected. As the last one passed me in leaving, it was all I could do to keep the tears in my eyes IN my eyes.

Later in another class I was helping a child with sounding out words. And she got it. It was like a lightbulb went off and it clicked with her about how words rhyme. I don’t know who was more excited: me or her!

I stopped in a shop where a particular woman is always rather curt with me after lunch. I was none too interested in making conversation with anyone after my Starbucks experience, but in working my way through the store, I caught her eye and knew she recognized me, so I asked her when her baby was due. She took it from there and shared things with me her fears about having another child. About working. The things she is looking forward to. And all I did was offer a few sentences worth of interest.

Little things. Little gifts in my ordinary Thursday.

And Mr. Saturday? He gave me a gift too. He helped me appreciate the beautiful friendship I share with my husband.

~ by hthr on September 18, 2008.

2 Responses to “social stutters”

  1. this was really so lovely. thanks for sharing this…

  2. it’s the little things that make life so great! 🙂

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