I delivered a car to Maryland, and then hopped on a plane and flew to Texas for my next pick up. I was in an aisle seat on the plane, and found myself in the middle of a family. The two people on my side of the row were related to the folks in the seats across the aisle. I say two people, but it was really three in my row if you count the toddler.
And I do.
Once we were in the air, what appeared to be the Grandparents across the aisle were leaning over and waving and cooing at the toddler, and kept asking his parents to pass him over. Which meant passing him over me. No problem, except that each time they passed the kid, he'd either whack me with his hand in the face or kick me with his tiny shoes. Surprising how much punch can be delivered by such little feet. The Grandparents would play with him til he cried, then pass him back to Mom and Dad. Once the little tyke was calm again, the old folks would hold out their arms. The child must have been passed back and forth at least ten times during the flight.
I was really glad to get off that flight, I wanted a nap but every time I'd start to nod off a foot would kick me in the head. Knowing that I had time to kill before picking up the next car, I found a little Coffee Cafe called COFFEE, TEA, OR ME. Odd name, but they had free Wifi and so I decided to drop in. Got a cup of green tea and opened up my laptop. I noticed that there were two tables right in front of me that had desktop style computers, with a sign that stated "15 MINUTE LIMIT PER CUSTOMER."
It began to rain outside as I checked my email. I hoped it would stop fairly soon, as I had to catch several buses to get where I was going. A woman walked in humming loudly, then broke into song. I didn't recognize the tune or the lyrics, but I like it when someone is happy. She sat down at one of the computers and spoke to it. "Now are you going to work for me today? I'm counting on you, I have some very important papers I need to print. Do you understand me? Very important. Oh yes, oh yes." She went about setting up her materials and started to type.
A waitress walked up to her and smiled. "What can I get for you?"
"I beg your pardon?"
"Would you like something to drink? Coffee, tea, juice?"
"What I'd like is some privacy and some peace and quiet. Tell me, do you think that's too much for me to ask? Really, I would like your opinion."
"Uh, no ma'am, you're welcome to use our computer."
"Oh good, I have your blessing. Well then, run along now." When the waitress left, the woman leaned down close to the computer. "I thought she'd never leave. The nerve of some people. I just want you and me to be here alone and get our work done. You can understand, right? Right? Hello, I'm speaking to you, the courtesy of a response would be much appreciated."
The computer said nothing. It just sat quietly. The woman got to work, but she peppered her task with comments. "You really do run slow, you know." "I've worked on much more efficient operating systems than yours." "I don't mean to insult you, but you are most definitely substandard."
I looked out the window and watched the rain. I found myself drifting off into a daydream, and then suddenly was brought back to reality by the woman, who raised her voice. "What are you looking at?" she asked me with suspicion.
"Just watching the rain," I told her.
"You were watching me doing my personal business. Don't try to deny it."
"Trust me, I was watching the rain and wondering when it would stop."
"How can I trust you, I don't even know you. And I don't buy that story for one minute. You were sticking your fat nose into my business, and I want you to know that I don't appreciate it. Keep your eyes to yourself." She got back to her work, and I stared at my computer screen. Then I overheard her say to her computer, "Can you believe the nerve of that man? What kind of world do we live in where a mean, nasty man would try to spy on you. Will you tell me that? I'm flabbergasted." Then she pulled a sandwich and a can of Coke out of her purse.
Soon I was so focused on my work that I'd pretty much forgotten the lady sitting in front of me. But then the printer wouldn't work, and she began to exclaim "What is wrong with you, Mr. Printer? I need you to work now, this is a most important matter. Please just do your job, that's all that I ask."
The woman raised her voice and actually began to yell at the printer. The waitress came over and asked, "What's the problem, ma'am?"
"Go away, this is between me and the printer."
"Maybe I can help you."
"Oh, I seriously doubt that."
"Our printer hasn't been working too well lately," the waitress offered, most politely.
"Well I am outraged! I come in here and spend my money, and you don't even have a working computer? Why did I come? Why am I here?"
The waitress shrugged and walked away. The woman got up in a huff and grabbed her things to leave. I noticed that her umbrella was still hanging on the back of the chair, so I grabbed it and ran to the door to hand it to her.
"I think you forgot this," I said.
"What? What's this?"
"I believe it's your umbrella, it was hanging on the back of your chair."
The woman looked as if she were about to cry. "Oh my goodness. It is mine. Oh sir, you are a true gentleman. Chivalry is not dead, well, not yet anyway. Thank you so much." As I stepped away, I heard her speaking to the umbrella. "I almost left you in there. Then I would have gotten wet, and you would have been abandoned. An orphan, as it were."
I packed up my computer, grabbed my bag, and started out the door opening my own umbrella. It was going to be a very wet drive tonight.