It’s Saturday and the coffee patio is full with people. There is a couple, a man engrossed in his novel, a women who is serene with her long salt and pepper hair floating in the wind, the two knitting club women who are whispering (They understand that to have a private conversation in public, one must whisper, their whispering makes me smile), and rounding it out is the man with his bulldog.
The couple is sitting up against the wall chattering away about nothing in particular. She’s young and exuding excitement towards life. He’s slightly older, listening to her random chatter about a vegetable platter she is planning on taking with them to an afternoon barbeque. I am not sure if she’s really interested in the carrots, celery and plum tomato’s that they have left over in the fridge or if she just wants to make noise and be noticed. I can’t decide. She is being noticed, maybe not heard, but certainly noticed.
The sun is warm and it feels good on my shoulders. I am sitting at a table reading the news when two gentleman arrive – together but not together. The tall blonde suggests to the older man that he is willing to share his table. I notice that the seat the blonde is offering the older man is in the sun and without any warning I am blurt out,
“You are also welcome to share my table and sit in the shade if that is what you prefer.”
What am I thinking!! Both men turn to look at me in amusement? or sheer shock that I opened my mouth?
“Well thank you, I’d like very much to share your table.”
Oh boy. Well what can I do now? Leave? That’s silly. I’ll manage the situation that I created for myself.
“I must warn you that I might laugh every once in a while.” I know people find this uncomfortable, my random laughing at what I am reading, thinking or seeing and it is just easier to be upfront about this mild turrets-like syndrome. I’ve tried my best to be serious, to be sterner with myself while out in public, but it hasn’t worked so far.
“What do you mean by laughing.”
I don’t respond and go on reading my newspaper. We sit in silence and I ignore him.
He has a backpack and he likes riding his bike in the sunshine. So why is he sitting under the shade? Who knows, I’ll go out on a limb here but he probably wants to chit chat.
He notices the bulldog on the patio and turns around and strikes up a conversation with his owner, a distinguished older gentleman with shocking white hair.
“Winston? I was thinking that would be a good name for your dog.”
“Ya, he’s waiting for his mommy”
“I used to have a sheep dog, so much grooming. I had to put it down because she had hip dysplasia. I guess it’s pretty common in that lot of animals”
“Ya, I think its pretty common for all dogs now-a-days.”
He is getting his nerve up, striking up conversation with people around him and he turns to me,
“What’s your name?”
“Dawn” I lie. Well it is a thin lie. It’s half the truth so I can live with myself. I didn’t say something like Jane, Francine, Nicole or better yet Joan Jett!
“I am Peter”
“Good to meet you Peter.”
“I am one of the original disciples, a prophet, you know that? Just don’t ask my mother about it”
No I don’t plan to really get that friendly with you, friendly enough to meet your mother who I assume is likely in her 80’s.
I laugh but don’t look up, I haven’t decided yet if this man is crazy. I mean he looks well adjusted, he is reading a copy of the Globe and Mail, he wears sunglasses, he is appropriately clothed for the weather and he sports a watch with a black leather band with a gold rimmed face.
Peter the prophet does not have a lot of patience and eventually leaves out of disappointment at the lack of conversation.
I kindly wish him a nice afternoon to which he replied, “Yes and good day to you, and perhaps you’ll be more chatty this afternoon.”
Perhaps, perhaps not. I want to introduce him to the girl in the blue dress, she has lots of things to say and perhaps he’d have enjoyed her conversation about vegetable platters.