Wednesday, 11 November 2009

I was in town today...

..and with a few minutes to kill before I got the bus home I decided to pop into Waterstone’s on George Street for a quick browse and a coffee. After I had perused the children’s section and subtly put “Bree McCready” face out on the shelf (doesn’t every author do that?) I went up to Costa Coffee and ordered my skinny latte and orange muffin. I sat down in the far corner on the comfy seats and allowed myself to relax for five minutes. Next thing this guy plonks himself down on the settee right opposite me. He didn’t even say “is this seat taken?“ It felt a bit strange seeing as there were at least ten spare seats left in the shop that he could have chosen instead. Must be my magnetic personality! I suddenly became very uneasy and a bit annoyed. He was practically sitting on my lap! Very intimate indeed. Anyway, I pretended to text someone (something I tend to do in awkward situations!) and settled back to listen to a conversation between two old ladies who clearly had lots of catching up to do. They didn’t draw breath! Weird guy ate his muffin VERY LOUDLY and stared at me while I ate mine. How he could not have read from my wild stare back that he was seriously getting on my nerves was beyond me. At 2 minutes to 11 o’clock one of the staff went round telling everyone that the shop would be observing the one minute silence to mark the end of the First World War. I was relieved to hear this because I was going to have a little quiet reflection myself but it was much nicer to be part of something a bit bigger.
At 11am the hush descended. It was very eerie going from the hubbub of a busy coffee shop to complete silence in the blink of an eye. Like someone had turned the volume down. Everyone stopped talking and sipping except for the two old ladies behind me. One was in full swing talking about wee Betties new curtains and nothing was going to stop her, not even the death glares she was getting from the rest of us. About 20 seconds into the silence it was getting so awful and embarrassing that I was on the verge of leaning back and saying something. But the teenager at the next table took the words right out of my mouth. Dressed all in black with a chain running from his nostril to his earlobe and a colourful array of tattoos the young man turned round and very politely asked the old woman to respect the silence. You could have heard a pin drop after that. I nearly laughed out loud such was the irony of the moment. In this day and age when young people get such bad press and the older generation are so quick to talk acerbically about “the youth of today” it was so refreshing to see the tables turned. Really made my day.

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