I tried. I really did. I had every intention of working. I took my laptop and my notes and settled in at Starbucks. I'm usually quite productive when I write there. There's just enough background noise, music, and commotion that it serves as "white noise" for me. The only time I have a problem is if someone sits too close to me and begins to talk loud enough that it dominates the rest of the white noise. That's exactly what happened on this particular day--with one exception--the culprits didn't sit right next to me, but across the room.
I'd guess one to be about 70 and one to be around 80....years, not pounds. Mr. Seventy wore a sweatshirt and work pants. His hair was grey and he spoke up so that his friend, Mr. Eighty, could hear him. Mr. Eighty was as much of a good ol' boy as you can get. He was quite obviously hard of hearing and he also wore work pants, but topped them off with red suspenders, a plaid flannel shirt, and a ball cap with a perfectly flat brim pushed back on his head and slightly crooked.
Mr. Eighty loudly started their conversation on an expected topic--the weather. Concentrate, I told myself. Ignore them. Mr. Seventy chimed in that he agreed that this mild winter we've had has been terrible and we would have been better off to have a couple feet of snow. That got my attention. Come on, Cari. Keep your mind on your work. I took a sip of my latte and tried to get some more words on the page. Mr. Seventy said that when he was snowboarding earlier that day, he noticed the snowpack on the mountain was low. Snowboarding?? That guy is a snowboarder? I tried to get back to my writing, but I could hear every word they were saying over the din. I drank more latte.
I was resolved to get some work done, but the conversation wore on. They discussed lost loved ones, Mr. Seventy apparently lived alone and Mr. Eighty must have been a recent widower. Mr. Seventy told him how to cook pot roast and they talked about what they ate for breakfast and how to boil eggs. I felt bad for Mr. Eighty and imagined what it must be like to suddenly be on your own. I was not getting ANY writing done. Tune them out! I told myself. But myself couldn't or wouldn't do it.
Then, I knew I was in trouble. Mr. Eighty commented that his back had been hurting. Mr. Seventy said that when he was skiing the other day his knee was aching. It went down hill from there (no skiing pun intended). Then they moved on to macular degeneration and I knew the direction it was heading. I began gulping my latte and gathering my stuff before I had to listen to anything about hemorrhoids, bladder control, or worse. I finished my latte and am pretty sure I escaped just in time.
Now I had time on my hands, writing to do and no suitable place to do it. So I did the only thing I could, given my circumstances. I threw my laptop and spiral notebook into the back of my car and went shopping. What's a girl to do?