random tidbit: i prefer gelato to ice cream.
It was my birthday on Monday. I had a lovely day with my husband. We went shopping. Had lunch. A family member very graciously watched the kids so we could just take our time and not have to worry about anyone else. It was a lovely day, despite the cold wind. But having a January birthday and growing up in the Midwest, I expect it to be cold during my birthday.
Everything is lovely and we are finishing up lunch. Then, we cross the street and go to a little coffee house that I had wanted to go to for awhile. It’s located on a college campus. That’s important. Also, there was no class happening on Monday because of Martin Luther King day. That’s important to. We get to the coffee house and order our food. Noticing that some people are coming in and immediately going to the seating area in the back. Once we order and make our way back to the tables, I notice two things. One, I am the oldest person in the room. Nice to have that reminder on my birthday. Two, that there are literally no seats left. There was a table, but no chairs. All the chair were being used by either students or books that were owned by students.
I reported back to my husband that there were no seats. He said, ‘Are you sure? Why don’t you look again?” Because sometimes I am not as observant as I could be. And he knows that. So I did another lap. This time with my slice of birthday cake. I probably looked a little sad. Carrying the little porcelain plate in my hands. My eyes hopefully scanning the crowd of students. I caught a few eyes that weren’t immersed in their books. Our eyes met with pity from their side to my hopeful ones. No one could be moved to share their table with us.
I came back again to my husband who was waiting for our drinks and reported that there really were no seats. And then I felt the panic rise in my throat. That I was back in high school and couldn’t find my little circle of friends to sit with! That’s what I felt like at this coffee shop. That I was the new kid or maybe the kid on the fringe who didn’t have a place. I almost dissolved into tears. Ok, not really. But I got a little sad thinking back to that time. This out of place experience was all to familiar to me.
I took a deep breath and reminded myself that I was an adult now and surely someone would be done soon. It would be alright. Sure enough, two students started packing up their laptops and fifty pound text books. I started a stealthy walk over to their seats. As I crept closer to our future seats, I darted a steely glance over my shoulder to make sure no one was going to pop in front of me and steal our new resting place. So we found seats. And enjoyed our little birthday treat. The day went on without any further reminder of high school or insecurities.