Christmas Coffee in Syosset, Lawn Guyland 2015

Gimme…
Yeah,…I want…
Umgonnahaf…
Lemmeget… .
Tell you what I want. Are ya’ listenin’??

Not a single please nor thank you.
Not. One.

And her daughter-in-puffy-jacket walked directly in front of me several times while carting coffee mugs to and fro, deciding a teacher gift. Not once did that 11- or 13-year-old child make eye contact or look around to see who else might be standing in line. Not once did she say, “excuse me” crossing in front of me, slicing the line back and forth, helping herself to whatever she needed. Not once did she think a moment about courtesy or personal space or etiquette.

And not once did her mother, watching the traipsing child, say a thing to her or make any behavior correction – for she was just as awful. Blowing around in entitlement and discourteous blabbering about price and discounts for more than one. Huffing and puffing having to wait, for godsake, online for freaking coffee, for chrissakes, with (and please excuse this – it is part of the entire observation and not finger-pointing or a smear) foreign car keys on a religious symbol keychain, a delicate and beautiful Hand of Fatima in the cleft of her throat.

My single, simple order (straight, black, in a cup) pulled me ahead at the pickup. Yet the daughter came crashing, literally, around the bend so forcefully as to careen into my left flank nearly knocking me off my feet, had I not been leaning on the counter.

No excuse me, no apology. Not a single acknowledgement. Just blustering on through. Her mother saw and said nothing.

I’ve never been to a crazy city like frenzied New Delhi or exotic Jaipur or mysterious Shanghai or scented and heady Ceylon. At this rate I may never have to venture off Long Island to be greeted with temperaments and customs so foreign to me, I feel on vacation at the coffee shop in Syosset. These women are white, local, tacky; not foreign or beautiful exotic “other” or anything other than just plain rude.

In the corner, an older couple haze and barked orders at their dervish grandchildren fetching (then dropping) scads of straws and napkins, everywhere. Barking louder for the clean up and admonishments of not paying attention. Again, no boundaries. We hear everything private in this family. Grandpa “has to make” so they cannot stay.

I feel so bland, vanilla. So boring, so swaddled in my happiness and good upbringing, a culture of culture and etiquette, with my oil burner and cut lawn, private thoughts and polite smile at behaviors I cannot fathom. Maybe a little wildlife is good? Not this sort, not the unruly and illmannered beasts of the suburbs. They’ll never take away my manners, no matter how deriguer you find them, and if my child ever is rude, you’ll let me know.

djd2015

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Starbucks: Fireside Eavesdropping.

Dear loud nasal-voiced woman sitting over my left shoulder,

Stop talking. Please.

We three writers sitting quietly by the fireplace are cringing and wincing, shooting each other rolling-eyes about your “how annoying boss, Bob” and how late meeting invites were ignored. The rapid-fire banality of your workplace drama and gossip–Diana is a slut, AND she sounds lazy, yes, you’re right – has meaning only to you. Have you checked if your friend across the table is still breathing? Peter and Ross and Justine should not attack each other, and blame is a byproduct of working with folks who believe “it’s not their job”, whatever it is. Georgia needs a plumber and Henry will not be a good presenter if he can’t come to work sober. That’s a lot of other people’s business you’ve got your snout wedged into. And, now, because you were never taught to properly modulate your voice, everyone is involved.

Even invisible strangers like me.

But, you caffeinated siren of gossip and shrill shrewing, thank you for reminding me why I love a non-office workplace.

Thank you from the bottom of my coffee cup.

DJD

Give In, Not Give Up.

And they tell me the only thing I can do is pray.

It’s so powerful, so mighty, so positive.

So why do I feel so powerless, so scrawny, so angry?
(This is far from my usual mode of positivity and optimism.)

One of you has been betrayed.
It is clear from your posts that your heart is leaking pain everywhere you go
like an old car leaves an oil trail down the street.

Some of you are ill.
I do not say “sick” but ill. Your body is fighting a fight while you are held hostage by those ravages and maneuvers.

Some of you will have surgery soon.
I know you are afraid.

A few of you are having parenting issues — whether you are the parent or the child.
A lot of frustration and needless back-and-forth of not listening to each other and power plays. (This you can handle yourselves, but I pray about it anyway because it couldn’t hurt.)

Many of you are healing or lonely or hopeful Love will come through the door…
that your own prayers will literally be answered.
Honestly, I want to answer every single one.

Gratitude is everything, I know this.
(Where is that magic wand we had as kids? We could just wave it around and *poof!* everything was magically
better
solved
time for supper and then a bath and story and bed.)

So many of us just want the very best for those we know and Love
and for those we hardly know but Love anyway.
I ask for better
I ask to be given opportunities to be a better person, mother, friend.
And they are provided hand over fist.

We mend what we can, as best we can.
After that, the only thing left to do is give in and pray.

DJD 2014