Blog No. 368
I had to go into work on Monday. I usually get the day off and make up for it sometime over the weekend. The shift started later in the morning, so I went for breakfast at one of the places I wrote about earlier in the year. I enjoy taking my time at meals, and I had plenty. The restaurant was empty when I went in. It was a rainy morning and they had some quiet music playing that matched the mood. The songs were familiar, but nothing I’d heard before. I was served right away and sat with my coffee looking out the window at the wet street.
A few people and cars passed by, but mostly I got to look at the buildings and imagine. I wondered what it would be like to live or work in those places. I wondered what the people were like. I thought about what my life would be like if I had made one of the billion choices in another way. There weren’t any birds, though. I’m not a bird watcher, but if I’m sitting somewhere enjoying a cup of coffee or a meal, I have been known to enjoy watching birds tussle around a bird feeder.
Before my food came, I went to wash my hands. A couple came in and sat at the table next to mine. The restaurant isn’t big, but there were other options. They must have missed my cup of coffee and glass of water when they chose their place, or they thought the person sitting there was gone. Maybe they didn’t notice at all.
I squeezed my way past them to my seat, the one where I could just make out the front of my vehicle dripping with rain on the other side of the window. It was tight quarters, but there was little reason to move once the food arrived. The conversation in the space was appropriately mellow and quiet in the dining room and just loud enough in the open kitchen that I could make out what everyone was talking about. Some of it was benign, just personal enough to exclude everyone but the people involved, but vague enough that I could listen in without feeling like a voyeur.
The couple talked about the rest of their day and how the rain would change their plans. The server and cook questioned the validity of different cleaning methods and what supplies they would need for the remaining week. The conversation somehow turned to the odd colours of ketchup that was available in the 90s, and everyone got a say. (I was in high school when they came out, so they didn’t really interest me).
Normally, I don’t like being involved in other people’s conversations in restaurants. I enjoy the broad discussions that sometimes happen in bars or coffee shops where everyone is directly encouraged to give their two cents. I’ll admit that on the odd occasion in a mostly empty diner, I’ve overheard people ask the server for advice on, say, what coffee shop to go to and chimed in with a comment. (There are s few good choices, but I think everyone who likes coffee should try Anchor).
Thankfully, the audience participation portion of the conversation was short. It was perfectly pleasant background sound while I ate my eggs. I finished my breakfast and leisurely sipped my remaining coffee. I felt like writing. I desperately didn’t want to have to go to work and instead head to anywhere else with my laptop and work on one of the stories I have on the go. Everything had come together in just the right way to nudge me into the direction that I really wanted to go. But I couldn’t. I had a shift to get to. After finishing my coffee, I headed to my truck and drove in the rain to my day job. I listened to some talk radio station but nothing sunk in. Instead I was thinking about writing this.
I managed to finish just as the clients were arriving. So I did get to do a little bit of writing.