Thursday, November 20, 2014

Making something interesting

I'm going to prove how my work life is nothing but giggles and grins.  I get to read some humorous, satirical content now and again.  If you don't...sorry, my friend.  Your life is the worse without it.  If, like me, you found yourself jumping into The Longman Reader in preparation for an upcoming class and ultimately landed on "How to Say Nothing in 500 Words" by Paul Roberts, then you may have also come across this bit: "Can you be expected to make a dull subject interesting? As a matter of fact, this is precisely what you are expected to do. This is the writer’s essential task. All subjects, except sex, are dull until somebody makes them interesting. The writer’s job is to find the argument, the approach, the angle, the wording that will take the reader with him. This is seldom easy, and it is particularly hard in subjects that have been much discussed: College Football, Fraternities, Popular Music, Is Chivalry Dead?, and the like. You will feel that there is nothing you can do with such subjects except repeat the old bromides. But there are some things you can do which will make your papers, if not throbbingly alive, at least less insufferably tedious than they might otherwise be" [bold font my own].

I didn't know what I was going to pound out here for my weekly Thursday morning coffee shop hour, and here it landed in my lap.  Buckle in, dear reader, for while I'm not going to be talking about sex, I shall be wending my way through the finer points of a truly fascinating topic: someone's sitting in my seat.  (But first, I need to finish re-reading that essay so that I can better lead my planned discussion.)

(I'm back briefly: Roberts' article uses a fictitious example of writing about college football for 500 words as the task exemplar to make his point.  At one point, he writes that you [the college student struggling through the assignment] might develop your argument about why college football is no good for the school.  One of your points might be that "...for most schools it is financially ruinous."  Obviously, Roberts lived in a different day and age [upwards of 50 years ago] than what we currently enjoy.  Financially ruinous no more, eh?)

Well, now.  Thanks for waiting, and I'm back.  On to the juicy guts of the matter: allow me the chance to state again (perhaps somewhat more emphatically now) that someone is sitting in my seat.  Their bum is enjoying the cushy leather chair that is most undoubtedly mine when I stop by this little joint.  What's more, he's ensconced there as if he means to stay.  There can be no saltier salt to rub in my fresh wound. 

Perhaps this is the climax for the series of events leading up to the moment I walked in those doors.  #2 asked me, yet again, for a snack at 8:52 a.m.  #1 asked me, yet again, if she was late at 9:00 when she was looking out the window watching the students get off the buses.  #2 asked me, yet again, how long it would take to get to pre-school.  I forgot #2's backpack for pre-school (read: no change of clothes in case she has an accident, and for some reason, pre-school is the only place where she does so anymore).  I pumped gas in the delightfully crisp air (read: bone chilling wind).  My parallel parking fiasco was exactly what it sounds like, and it involved the sidewalk. 

I think that the pumping-o-the-gas made all of the difference.  That 5 minutes that put me behind my otherwise strictly enforced time budget undoubtedly allowed Mr. Seat Usurper to swoop in and perform a coffee shop chair coup.

However, it's the season of thanks and sharing, so I will, for this day only, accede my rightful place in this socially accepted institution.  But let it be understood that in so doing, I staked my claim to a tall cafe table right beside the door (cause I like 'dem small and high ones, too), and I'm not sure it's me or my high octane wit, but the large glass window right beside me is all steamy now.  And I'm distractingly close to actual people (note that my preferred location is rather tucked away in a corner, which did lead to something of an awkward moment as I went barreling toward it with my large cup of Jamaican Me Crazy only to have to pretend that I wasn't trying to sit in someone's lap).  But this place if full of interesting people with their interesting stories, so it's also a bit of an airport luxury getting to do a bit of people watching and eavesdropping.  Shameless.

Twist in the plot!  There's now a deaf, older gentleman sitting in the table beside me.  It's hard to eavesdrop on that conversation. 

This table is serving me well.  Will it lead to a complete redux of my favorite spot?  Just call me Dickins cause that was a cliff hanger.


No comments: