I'm trying to be okay with the fact that the elderly woman sitting across from me, snacking on apples, cheese slices, and bits of turkey, sticks her tongue out nearly to her chin each time her fingers guide her food's way to her chomp-hole.
She's not doing anything wrong, really. Just having a little afternoon snack along with her frothy coffee drink on an outdoor patio on a beautiful day. And I could choose to look away. But I'm mesmerized.
She did it again. It's like her tongue makes a little chin-bib in case anything were to miss her gaping mouth. Once the bit of apple or cheese makes its way in, her tongue retracts and does what it's supposed to do. Flipping around chewed up mash, I guess. Pushing stuff to the back of the throat. Crimeny. I've seemed to have lost my appetite for the rest of the day.
I'm trying to be happy for this lady. I mean, here she is, making healthy food choices and enjoying some leisure time alone. She's even pouring over a newspaper. A concerned citizen. A member of our world's society. When's the last time I read a newspaper? I mean really read it, like she's doing. Not just skimming through the obits looking for good names for future fictional characters. Great. Now I'm irritated not only by her unsightly eating habits, but also how her newspaper reading is making me feel bad about myself. Knock it off, lady.
She's balled up her trash and put it in her purse. Her napkin has been shoved, I kid you not, into what one may call her "private parts." I mean she's clothed, mind you, but you get the idea. Vigorous stirring of her frothy coffee drink has commenced. So much so that her little shoulders are shaking as if she were the recipient of a forceful, hand-chopping back rub. Pause for an audible sip. Stir again. Pause and sip. Stir. Sip. Stir. Sip. Stir. Sip.
She's doing that on purpose.
My hyper-focus on this woman, someone's sweet, sweet Granny, no doubt, is put to rest while I do some damage control for the accidental "come-hither" vibe I may have just given the man who has joined the patio. I've been writing, comfortably, and as a result, I've flung my legs over the side of a chair, leaned back and have otherwise established a Renoir-like pose. Cheddar-eating Granny didn't seem to mind. But I was suddenly aware that felt like a comfortable writing post just moments before Mr. G.Q. sunglasses/five o'clock shadow guy came out here suddenly feels...centerfold-ish.
I shift myself back into a determined, feet on the ground, back straight, position and study both the leaves of the rose bush on my right as well as the freckles on the back of my arm. "Not interested in the least, buddy." That's the vibe I put out now. "Not even a courtesy smile from me, mister. Try the frantic coffee stirrin' Granny to your left." I don't say these things, mind you. I think them in my little head.
All snacks have been consumed, her tongue has returned to its restful position, the remainder of the trash has been shoved into her now empty plastic cup. And Granny continues to read her paper. I'm telling you right now- I have not the attention span to even make it through the headlines in her paper. Granny's more focused, and as a result, smarter than me. I'm mad at you, Granny.
I refuse to look over at G.Q. guy, but can make out that he's got a laptop open- a manly black one- and may be typing away. He may be writing a business report. He may be looking at porn. I have no idea. I don't care. I'm not looking.
He just got his foot-tap going when Neil Young started begging to his Old Man to take a look at his life over the speakers attached to the outer brick wall behind me. G.Q. guy could be emailing his own old man. He could have daddy issues. He could be tearing up right now. I want to look but I won't.
Maybe he's a teacher. Maybe he's on summer break. Maybe he is faking like he's just looking around to give his brain pause, but is quietly observing those around him. The wonderfully kind old woman to his left, now writing a shopping list on the back of a receipt. Nothing about this irritates him. He smiles, reminded of his own grandmother, who he loved dearly.
He sees the red-headed lady intent on whatever she's typing on her own laptop. He doesn't note that her unnaturally-colored hair contradicts the dark brown and silver roots beneath her lime-green headband. He's not bothered by the fact that each time she takes a swig of her coffee, she tosses her head back like she's swallowing a pill. Her bobbing right leg doesn't distract him. He doesn't feel the need to describe the obvious pimple on the bridge of her nose or wonder why someone with gray hairs (although covering them- poorly) still breaks out like a teenager. He's just watching.