Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Whimsical wanderings

Forgive me if I feel compelled to give you an accounting of yesterday. It is too enigmatic an account to bury.

Monday was my day to end the misery. I had fifty percent of my grade due for two different classes, however, by most standards, I am to be envied for the fact I am now free of school for the rest of finals week.

The day started with an early morning session at Starbucks in preparation for my Poli Sci final at 8. There I sat at the Sehome location right next to the pickup counter. The barista who worked steadily through each double, tall, no-whip, extra-hot vanilla latte might as well have been there all night—a good possibility since that shop is open all night during finals week. She had this whimsical cheerfulness you see--it didn't matter if no one was listening. A cell phone ring-tone mimicking a bird was enough to send her into fits--declaring her passionate love of that ring-tone and how it had just made her day.

She must have noticed me smile one or two times. Just as I was about to get up to leave she had a slight lull and said in a hushed voice, as if she was a taking a chance, "hey, do you wanna sample?" I said I was just about to take off...she goes, "What flavor, or do you want me to surprise you?" I acknowledged the later as a better option and she asked me if there was anything I didn't like. Nothing came to mind so she took my empty coffee cup and fixed a tall latte while I packed up. It ended up being a half white, half dark chocolate flavor—not too bad I must confess. I stole away with my "sample" and took my exam.

Next was my last class of winter quarter—my very favorite professor was there to see me off to spring break (don't laugh too hard if you know who I'm talking about). It was an amusing setup: the sun streaming through the window. There were three people in the class graduating after this class period. Their obvious sense of euphoric excitement was infectious. On the board, written in bold upper case was, "MY LAST DAY!" and it stayed there. The class naturally devolved into the standard, last-chance rant by the one hundred and second most dangerous professor in America (David Horowitz please take note: I don't know how you missed this guy).

Ok, I finally headed to Haggen for lunch and my last-stretch effort to finish my research paper. All was going smoothly when a figure appeared at my booth—gesturing and asking me if she could sit across from me. She was a short woman, walked with a cane and seemed oblivious to the fact that I was one of only a few people in the cafe who were taking up booths—in fact, I think she singled me out for company I guess. She was mentally handicapped(sorry, I'm not learned enough to identify specific conditions) and a very warm person to talk to. As soon as she sat down, she asked me to take the lid off her coffee cup. I took my fingers off the keyboard and obliged, after which, she promptly poured half of her coffee into my coffee cup -- only she didn't realize that I had refilled it with water and it still had an inch or so in the bottom. I suppressed a laugh and realized that I'd better ration my conversation or I would never see any progress on my paper. That was the gist and theme of her visit with me: sharing. She began to share other things too. She shared about the bus driver who didn't mind people sleeping on the bus. She shared about the many people were not nice enough to the dog at her home--including her mother. She shared that she had just done the dishes for her mother, and then asked me to open her 3 Musketeers bar. I at first objected, thinking she wanted to give part of it to me, but she continued to ask me to just open it for her -- which I did. She confirmed my fears when she asked me to break it in half. I again objected till she assured me she just wanted to save the rest for later. Fifteen minutes later, after writing just two sentences in that time, I decided it was the better part of wisdom to find a way to conclude our visit. I asked Sarah what her name was and then calmly mentioned that I had to go back to finishing my paper--was that alright with her? She nodded and left...not before finally sharing that other half of a 3 Musketeers bar. *sigh* Oh if only I had met Sarah a day later. I probably would have enjoyed a much longer visit.

I finished what passed for a research paper, turned it in, and headed to work. I was surprised to discover everything was relatively normal at work, and I don't know how to explain that in light of the day's preceding events!

Happy spring break!


<< Home 3 Comments:
Blogger Gloria said...

I hope all of your exams went well. I'm still in highschool so spring break is not something that I take. Your conversation or time with "Sarah" was very interesting to read...

10:15 PM, March 14, 2006  
Blogger Crystal said...

Very intersting...I know people who have mental conditions don't always run on the same time tables as the rest of us "normal" people but what joy they get out of life and sharing things with others. I was very touched to read about your time with Sarah.

Glad you made it through you finals and Happy Spring Break!

11:05 PM, March 14, 2006  
Blogger CelloChic said...

Oh, that is too funny and sweet!

4:02 PM, March 16, 2006  

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