Wednesday, April 06, 2016

not charity

There is never a day I do not write. There are, however, many days when I have nothing of interest to you, or I decide that it's too private or too negative or too positive or that it somehow fails so many other tests that I submit my posts to, all internal, of course, and what I write remains locked in the land of unpublished.

There are also days where I'm like, this is soooooo boring. Where the minutiae of life fails to take on a life of its own, where the sparkle is dim and nothing resembles anything that anyone would find interesting.

And then there are days where, I've said it before, I seriously, seriously can't make this shit up.

On Wednesdays I take the youngest to an activity. We usually go with a friend. Each of us gets a friend, I mean, the mum for me and the kid for her. The mum was busy today so I took them both. When I have no one to hang with I sit in the little cafeteria, near a plug in for my laptop, and write. It's kind of nice, this change of pace, writing out of the house, in public, one hour dedicated to whatever I feel like.

There was another woman at a table adjacent, making notes in a novel. Another woman some distance away, against a wall, reading. At a table next to her was a very done woman, you know, the hair so perfectly blown out, coiffed, I would say. Make up very obvious. Clothing immaculate. I wouldn't have paid so much attention, I would have been WORKING, however, it was impossible, becausefor approximately 30 minutes this woman FaceTimed her sister, who is on vacation right now in Mexico, or some other hot destination where hotels are ranked in stars (4). They FaceTimed, which happens to happen on speaker phone, for all of us to hear. Speaking loudly, about nothing at all, like, is that a swimsuit you're wearing? or a dress? how many stars is the place? WHAT?? you have a bad connection. a bad connection. I SAID YOU HAVE A BAD CONNECTION. And then randomly, sweetie, sweetie, come here and say hi to auntie. say hi. say hi to auntie. yah, I'm just here. yah, nothing going on. you know, what colour is that swimsuit? what? what? you have a bad connection. And so on and on and on.

I tried to be patient, I really did. Didn't execute that well, but I did try. I just find it so completely mind boggling, how stupid people can be with their absolute unwitting (or is it witting?) intrusion into the public space. I remember a girl, at the Y, once placing her phone on the counter, turning on her music, with that super fantastic sound quality rap tends to get when it's beating out of an iPhone 2, and cranking it, so she could listen while she blow dried her hair.

In Toronto I noticed something. It was that every single person, it seemed, on the street or the subway, had a thin white cord snaking from ear into jacket or palm, and every single person seemed to exist respectful of the bubble. I wasn't there long, I could have misread the situation, but it struck me today that perhaps it is our very politeness, as a general population here on the prairies, that just doesn't know what the frick to do with this obnoxious behaviour. Perhaps in Toronto it is immediately struck down, booed and and hissed at, tamping it out at the source.

I made eye contact with the woman near me, who did her own version of eye rolling. I gestured to the headphones I had lying on the table, should I take them over and offer? I said, only half joking. She smiled. Think of it like training, she said. Like, if you ever had to be a sniper. This is good training.

A sniper? That's where you go with this? I laughed out loud as I questioned her. No, she said earnestly. I was thinking, it's like the army, right? You have to have intense focus, concentration. You have to be able to block that out. She waved her arm towards the still loud talking woman.

A sniper. That is what came to mind. See how much this person was pissing people off?

Eventually she stopped and the room seemed to echo now with silence. We all breathed deeply, I think, no longer having to fight the feeling of listening in on something private. And then she came over to our tables, the loud talking woman did. Are you Charity, she asked the sniper lady. She shook her head. She turned her bouncing hair to me, with a big smile. Are you? Are you Charity? I'm looking for someone named Charity.

I shook my head, no, I said, I'm not. Charity. And as she walked away I laughed. I'm the opposite of Charity, right now. The meanie girl, the grouch. Perhaps the most complete opposite of charitable at this very moment than I ever have been.

At this moment, I'm a sniper.

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