Having a (Some) Gas at Starbucks
I know, I know, everybody has gas. We know everybody has gas, we know we have gas, we just don’t want anyone else to know, especially if those anybodies include perfect strangers in a public place. Unfortunately, that aspect of our shared humanity can sometimes manifest itself at the most inopportune times.
Like yesterday. There I was sitting in Starbucks, being all writerly á la Natalie Goldberg and Julia Cameron. I sat in a large overstuffed chair, feet propped on a coffee table (of course, it was a coffee table, it’s in Starbucks), notebook and pen in hand, and scribbled to my heart’s content. I paused from time to time to sip from my grande iced café mocha, half-decaf, with whipped cream and then returned to the page.
Motown artists sang from the speakers above my head, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Dionne Warwick, The Platters, but little distracted me once I started putting words to the page. A group of young men sat at the two tables to my left, but they didn’t make much noise because they were intent on their smart phones. After an hour, I checked my watch, and it was time to leave. I eyed the urn of bagged coffee grounds by the door and made a mental note to take some home for the garden.
I leaned over, gathered my purse, and put my notebook, pen, and book into my Barnes and Noble bag printed with The Grapes of Wrath cover. I remembered that my pink jeans tend to slide down while I’m sitting, so after I stood, I did a little discreet hiking up, and stepped forward to leave Starbucks. It was then that I stumbled, regained my balance right away, and the most inopportune time happened—to me, in Starbucks! I blanched, probably turned as white as whipped cream, put my face forward, and walked in a straight line to the door. No longer intent on their smart phones, those young men were laughing their heads off in the background. Anxious as I was to get the heck out of there, I decided no way was I leaving without the coffee grounds. I snatched up a bag of them, opened the door, and, head still forward, walked to my car, looking neither left nor right.
Mortified! Did I note that I was mortified? I was. I tried to explain it away to myself, as I did in the first lines of this blog . . . everybody has gas . . . blah, blah, blah. It didn’t help my sense of human frailty a bit.
I initially decided I would never, ever, ever go to that Starbucks again. What if someone happens to be there who was also there on that fateful day? Will they say, “Better not sit near her”? Will they step aside and wave their napkins in the air as I pass? Will they say, “That’s the old lady I was telling you about” and snicker and laugh and whisper as I saunter past them?
It’s possible all of the above could happen. Or it’s possible it might not. I likely will return to Starbucks, maybe even that Starbucks, but I’ll focus on being lighter on my feet, and because I do live in Central Florida, I will sit outside.