This is why you don’t use Starbucks as your office around me

When I was growing up, my dad frequently referred to me as a “nosy little thing,” but he was/is wrong. I like to think of myself as observant and/or concerned as the case may be. It’s in my nature to pick up on things people around me don’t notice/ ignore/ recognize as none of their business. And now that I’m a writer *adjusts monocle* I have the perfect excuse to keep my antennae up: it’s all for my work. 

Being observant has its benefits though. I often see things coming before others do since I’ve been scoping out/ okay, borderline stalking the sitch before it even became a sitch. (That’s short for ‘situation’ for the uneducated). Here are a few examples:
Eco-conscious crime fighter
On a recent walk around my neighborhood, I spotted a pink bandanna lying suspiciously on the side of the road. And if you’re not sure how a piece of cloth can lie somewhere suspiciously, I can’t help ya pal- I just know this one was suspicious AF. I think I even saw a little blood on the corner. It probably belonged to the last bored middle-aged woman who tried to mess with its owner.

“Nope, not on my watch!” I said to no one in particular, snatching up the offending accessory and shoving it into my pocket. “The…ummm…Pinkie Pie gang is not welcome in this neighborhood!!” I proudly marched on, feeling smug about the future crimes I had prevented. You know, crimes like spontaneous parties in celebration of friendship, apple picking without a license, and excessive coronations for Princess Celestia and other pony royalty- poyalty, if you will.

 

The thing was even though I was 90% sure this bandanna was gang-related, I didn’t want to just throw it in the trash. How environmentally irresponsible of me would that be! It couldn’t be recycled, and I wasn’t sure about composting, so I eventually decided to donate it to Goodwill. I’m not sure how my brain worked out the logic that it was acceptable for a non-profit organization to promote pony-related gang activity and not myself, but the whole thing makes me uncomfortable to remember, so let’s just move on, shall we?
False alarm witness/ preschooler embarrasser
This next story will show you how I don’t seek out crazy situations, they seek me out.

 

 So I was in the grocery store parking lot with my four-year-old, just finishing loading up my car when I heard a desperate cry for help. But like a real one, not just in my head. My little nosy…I mean observant heart just leapt. “You see? Do you see?? This is why you have to pay attention- someone needs me!” I thought to myself. “How may I be of assistance?” I may or may not have said. 

About the same time, a few nosy onlookers from the store heard the same call and started butting in. “What happened, ma’am?” one of the do-gooders said to the elderly woman still shrieking her head off. My annoyance with them was temporarily stayed by the sudden realization that the “victim” was…well, kinda nuts. Also racist.

“That black girl just stole my purse!! My PINK purse!!” (Coincidence? I think not) she screamed at the top of her lungs. At this point everyone seemed to be trying to calm her down, but I couldn’t make out what was said because, oh yeah, I should probably mention this was happening on the opposite side of the parking lot, and I was now frantically looping my minivan around to get in on the action. The four-year-old mentioned something about just wanting to go home and having some dignity and self respect, but I couldn’t hear that either since I’d rolled down my windows to hear the crazy old racist lady better.

On my fourth slow roll by, I pieced together that:

1. The pink purse had been in the lady’s cart the whole time.

2. The woman she accused of theft is a nicer person than I’ll ever be.

3. I probably do have a problem here.
 
Awkward public conversation exploiter
Coffee shops, (okay, Starbucks), are simultaneously the best and worst thing for me when I’m trying to get work done. Except mostly the worst. When I was in college I was never one of those people cramming for exams with a big study group at the local coffee shop because I couldn’t stop staring at/ eavesdropping on all the people around me. It baffled me that there were actually people who could focus on trigonometry when there was clearly a passionate break-up going down a mere five feet away from them. Let’s just say not much has changed since then.

 

 Out of necessity, I’ve gotten better at tuning things out, but, again, people tend to do embarrassing/ entertaining/ tweet-worthy things in front of me. Not that I would ever tweet  that kind of thing. Or take it upon myself to intervene out of nowhere.

Anyway, it never ceases to amaze me how the same people who use public spaces as their personal offices, literally setting up their printers next to the gift card display, tend to be disproportionately annoyed by the attention given them as the result of their loud, “private” conversations. Which makes it all the more fun to keep doing it.

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