He looked like a military man. That was the impression he gave. Probably in his 70s but as I age myself it becomes increasingly difficult to ascertain the age of those that I suspect are older than me. Well! Look like they are older than me. I have met people younger than myself but to me look older. Age can be confusing sometimes. ‘You look around, and you look around and then there are no more old people’ Not an exact quote from folk singer Tom Russell but pretty close. With his white moustashe neatly trimmed, full head of short and neat hair a tad longer than a regulation forces cut, decked out in winter jacket and slacks. Yes I would safely say military. His wife sitting about two feet to his right. Somewhere between 65 to 75. Both well preserved. Not a word uttered between them, like two teenagers engrossed with their mobile phones surfing the internet. Facebook? Probably! E-mail reading. E-mail answering. Possibly!. Whatever was occupying their attention, both were lost in their own cocoons, seemingly oblivious to each other and the world around them. I studied them intermittently for close on 35 mins.
Three tables to milirary man’s left (at 9 o clock in his world) sat a lone middle aged woman. What is middle age? Who knows. A 55yr old once described themselves as middle age in a letter to the late Terry Wogan on his breakfast radio show on BBC radio2 several years ago. Terry quickly quipped, “does this mean you are going to live to 110”. A valid question. Middle aged lady sat legs apart male style, thankfully she was wearing trousers. Her pose had me thinking how a pint of Guinness accompanied by a whiskey chaser would not look amiss in an Irish pub, as she enjoyed the craic and atmosphere of the bar. Log fire burning in the grate, traditional session in the corner, fiddle bowed, bordhan beat, guitar strummed, jigs reels and hornpipes. She too was absorbed in her own little broadband universe. Surfing the web or doing her Facebook thing.
Meanwhile glancing back towards ‘military man’ I see him writing notes or is it numbers, figures, into a small paperback pocket-size notepad. Online bets, online business, selling, buying? Who knows. All three. Milirary man, milirary wife, woman at the bar. Oblivious of who was there, seemingly oblivious to the world. Only looking at their smart phones. Fingers dancing over screens. A quick swipe here, a flick there. Observing these three people as I tucked into my regular Wedensday meal at the local Marks and Spencer. Ham and cheese toastie, very tasty. Hot medium black Americano to wash it down. Coffees, or was it teas that sat on the tables in front if my three internet surfers? I guess ‘milirary man’ is a tea fan. Earl Grey? Yes that would sound right. None of your fancy beverages for him. Keep it simple. Traditional! Of course.
Still surfing. Still lost in the moment
Are ‘military man’ & ‘military wife’ so comfortable with each other, that words are not required? So comfortable that they sit and seemingly can ignore the other’s presence? But it looks so rude to those who can see them. Well to me it looked rude. Were their phones so important to them? If their phones were not available, perish the thought, they would have to make conversation. Still maybe they are comfortable just knowing the other is there. Maybe that is sufficient. I just cannot help but think though that something inainmate, is of more importance. I am too judgemental? Possibly
Meanwhile ‘bar lady’ continues to do her inrernet stuff. But she has a valid excuse. She is alone.
Occasionally each of these three momentarily pull their eyes if not their being away from their phone screens. They glance around them. Faces lavking expresdion, emotion. Nothing odd their eyes declare and it is straight back to their business.
To my left two ladies are heavily engrosed in a conversation. They were there when I stepped into the cafe and would be when I stand up to leave 35 mins later. Quite normal. Very civilized. Behind me sat a bespectacled middle aged lady, like myself enjoying her own company. Was she people watching also? As she was behind me I did not know. I see her leave 10mins before I do. Further behind a group of 5 ladies enjoying a coffee together. Their conversation is lively, a little loud but not so much so as to be intrusive. I certainly cannot hear what they say, but one has quite a piercing laugh. I hear it above the low rumble of general conversation every now and then. Just a normal and not too busy evening at the cafe. Through the entrance archway or should I say opening a few late night shoppers go about their search for that perfect item. Sale bargain? If they are lucky. A bargain is only a bargain if you need it. I have just recently been one of them and when I leave the cafe I return to join them though I will leave empty handed. Shop staff I can see “buzzing” around, arranging floor displays or moving stock. Summer displays beginning to appear in store. The cafe manager sitting alone at a table by the kitchen entrance completing the day’s requisite paperwork. He must be bored but it has to be done.
People watching. Therapetuic? Probably
Enjoying my snack, my Wednesday evening meal, and yes I gave in to the temptation. Gave in as I knew I eventually would. The naughty, the ‘sinful’ slice of double chocolate layer cake looking at me, mocking me, staring me down. Saying to me “Eat me. Eat me” Sitting on it’s plate waiting for me to finish my toasted sandwich. It does look delicious. It tastes delicious. Ten mins of sheer heaven as I slowly work my way through eating it. Resisting everthing but temptation. Thats me. But I have been good since the beginning of this year. I have avoided such tasty crumbs, until now. And it was delicious, tasty and satisfying. Back to ‘porridge’ after that. Well a girl needs a little treat every now and then so long as it is only every now and then.
Lost in the moment. Loving my own company. Enjoying it. People watching. Part of the crowd and apart from it. Doing my thing. Relaxing. Relaxed. Happy to be. Savouring my precious weekly 5 or 6 hours just being myself. More hours. Many more hours, days even, or weeks, months years, for ever would be wonderful. Michelle forever, now there is a lovely thought. But I make do. I have to I have made my choice a long time ago, accepted how life has worked out. Happy with it? If I am honest? Yes I am. I think about recent events, in particular recent events in the unfolding life of my good friend Kirsty. And I smile happily to myself. So happy to know that everything will be fine for her. Yes life at this moment is good.
In my own little world and loving every moment.
“Meantime life goes on all around you” Bob Dylan
So as always be yourself, be who you are not who someone wishes you to be. Reach for your goals. It is in your hands.