Interesting People

A couple of nights ago Studly Doright and I enjoyed dinner in a slightly upscale (for Tallahassee) restaurant. We’d ordered our meal, and Studly excused himself to go to the men’s room. In his absence I looked around the room and listened to the buzz of conversation going on around us.

I didn’t intend to eavesdrop, I promise; nevertheless, my ears couldn’t help but pick up the tale being told at the table just on the other side of an artfully arranged barrier between our table and one a few feet away.

At that unseen, but nearby table, one man was holding court, detailing an encounter he’d had with someone of note. I never quite heard who he’d met, but the oohs and ahhs from his fellow diners indicated he/she was pretty impressive.

The longer I eavesdropped, I mean, listened, though, the more I realized that regardless of who this man had met he’d have made them seem amazing. Maybe it was his daughter’s pre-K teacher. Perhaps he was talking about the cashier at his local grocery store. It appeared to my ears that it was the storyteller who was the fascinating person.

I don’t mean that in a negative way. He wasn’t a boor. He just had a way of holding everyone’s attention and making a story about something mundane come alive. My husband has that ability. When he gets into storytelling mode, people listen.

I only wish I could pull that off. When I launch into a tale chances are 99% of those at the table tune out by the fourth sentence. And that poor sucker who represents the 1% is either too kind or maybe too inebriated to lose interest.

When Studly returned to the table I shifted my attention to him.

“So,” I asked. “How was your day?”

As he began to regale me with his tales of a fascinatingly ordinary day, I pictured someone at another table listening to him with a smile. Knowing an interesting person is infinitely better than being one.

Peace, people.

What’s in Your Well?

What’s in Your Well 

Where do you go, storyteller?
The days are bright in your world.
Or dark.
Take us there.
Down endless flights of stairs with monsters lurking in the shadows underneath.
Or up to soaring heights filled with cumulonimbus clouds and rainbows around every corner.
Make us laugh.
Or cry.
Give us hopes.
Or dash them.
Throw stones against the barriers that separate man from God.
Hold a blanket close over our shared memories.
Don’t let us hide from the starkness of truth exposed by harsh sunlight.
Or from the shadowy world of imagination.
Illumination.
You draw from your well.
I can’t even find mine.

Starbucks Musings

Twenty-something mom
Dangles baby on her lap
Feeding chubby cheeks
Green beans from a
Tupperware dish.
Baby points to a brightly
Colored picture above their
Heads then reaches for a
Hug.

Businessmen, one a
Fast talker, both clear-eyed
Exchange a series of
Ideas in a flurry of
Serious conversation
Portfolio splayed before
Them. Fingers point for
Emphasis. Fast talker
Shrugs.

Two ladies my age
Highlighted hair
Bobbed expensively
Laugh as only truly
Good friends can
Sharing common
Experiences that are
Even better retold over
Scones.

Two pairs of young
Couples engage in
Rituals of courtship.
One seemingly new
From the awkwardness
Of their conversation.
The other pair might be
In love. They constantly
Touch.

There are other solos
Like me: an elderly man
Playing games on his iPad
Sound turned way up.
A career girl, wheeled
Briefcase at her feet,
Availing herself of free
Wifi on her laptop, reads
Email.

My venti chai latte
Keeps me warm on
This uncharacteristically
Cold Tallahassee day.
People watching keeps
Me amused. Wondering
About their lives outside
Starbucks keeps me
Writing.

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