We have shared a table for half an hour, him with his new Kindle, me with my pen and paper; both passing time amongst the post-Christmas throngs in one of the many coffee shops seemingly growing on every empty street front. He speaks “It’s an interesting place isn’t it?” and I can only agree as we both acknowledge how often we just set biding time, reading, watching.
The girl on the next table, one of four, must take breath some time if she is to keep up the incessant, just-a-little-too-loud, babble that has not stopped, even when her friends are speaking, for the last 20 minutes.
The young child who, randomly to me, breaks into distressed screams – then I notice this five or six-year-old seems to have no verbal commune with his mother. He has that look of the mentally disabled, perhaps the scream it is the only channel through which he can make his needs and his feelings known. Who knows what is going on behind that facade? Is there a fully functioning and frustrated cortex unable to communicate, or does he not even know how different he is? I have seen, and being awestruck by, the love and attention that the parents and carers can offer; I remain humbled by those who make it their life’s work to teach those we used to label Educationally Sub-Normal, perhaps a more accurate description than today’s Special Needs, for those of the upper end of the ability range also have special needs but the system offers them far less than their mirror opposites.
Yesterday’s papers in the rack, how irritating, someone has already walked off with the shop copy of today’s Times.
The Christmas-new jumpers, coats, scarves, handbags etc all on view.
The impatient queuer who, having spent 5 minutes looking irritatedly at his watch, decides that he does not need anything after all and promotes those behind him in the queue as he walks out.
She has stopped. The half-hour long, finger wagging, searing rant is over and her smile spreads throughout the group.
Yes, an interesting place. Made all the more interesting by my own fantasies – I wonder if any are true? Thank you, anonymous table-sharer, for today’s inspiration. Enjoy your coffee.