COFFEE SHOP TALK⎯That’s Life

Coffee Shop no longer carries English newspapers. I think of making a fuss like I did with the music but I realize it’s been changing over the last year, catering to a larger demographic. I am now a tiny speck in Coffee Shop. Me, and the woman coming to the back with her coffee and muffin. She sits down at the table next to mine. I continue to go between watching snowflakes hit the ground and reading my book. Within minutes the woman begins a conversation about the teachers protesting outside the high school. I teach creative writing. I taught fitness for fifteen years. Except for teaching a group of uncoordinated high school baseball players aerobics back in the ‘90s, I have never taught a class room of kids. I do not know what goes on in classrooms and I don’t want to discuss it with her. But, somehow she feels that I need to know about teaching, teachers and the system. This leads to her talking about herself and giving me a few lessons about life. But this isn’t about the woman. This is about me. Without knowing anything about me, what is it that makes people feel that I am interested in their opinions? Makes them assume that I don’t know anything and need a lesson?  Do I look stupid? I asked Hubby once. He said I attract the weird ones. I have since the 1970s. He’s witnessed it. They see me across the room and head my way. I look approachable, someone they can try out their shit on. Since I am polite and easy-going I listen, hmm, aww and smile. I don’t challenge their nonsense. So, they continue. Like the woman is doing now, yakking about the highs and lows in her life, all the things she has done, throwing in a few items she feels I need to be educated about. It’s all very interesting, to her. And I think: She’s been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn and a queen. Before she gets up she says, “But that’s life.” And I think: We meet people. We listen. We are polite. One day we’re reading a newspaper in English the next we have to read it on our phone. Everything is temporary. Change is inevitable. We move. We find a new coffee shop. We go up and down and over and out. It’s all in the flow and that’s life. 

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Sheila Horne

Sheila Horne graduated from George Brown’s Creative Writing Program and is the author of three novels: Sunshine Girls, Paper Sun, and Place in the Sun. She is also the co-author of Temple of Light, a book of poems inspired by the Sharon Temple. Her poems and short stories have been published in various magazines and anthologies. To read more, visit Facebook.com/sheilahorne, author or www.sheilahorne.com.

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