Yesterday Upon the Stair...
So I'm sitting there this morning and note a woman come in; she's neatly dressed in navy blue slacks and a short sleeved white cotton shirt (both of them clean). She's wearing a trenchcoat with pastel checkered lining, and a querulous expression as if she just had a fight with someone and didn't get the last word. She ditches two backpacks and goes up to get her coffee. I go back to my writing. Every now and then I look up (partly because there's a homeless guy out in front of the store who clearly knows all the skateboarders in the neighborhood, who drop by, buy him coffee, and gossip, and I like watching him holding court) and note that the neatly dressed woman is having an argument--not just talking to herself, but arguing full out, sotto voce, but with all the body language you get from someone who is confronting another human being. Every now and then I get a snatch of her rant: "But nobody does, nobody does! Do you hear me?" But mostly I was involved in inserting a new character into a previously written scene, so my attention was mostly on that.
Half an hour later she's still arguing and I'm moving on in the chapter. I hear a loud, half-deaf voice from the back of the shop, joking with one of the baristas. From the conversation I gather that the guy is mentally retarded and possibly has some hearing loss as well. However, he's cheerful, seems to interact well, and other than the inappropriate loudness which draws attention to him, he's not causing any trouble. Except for the woman in the blue slacks, who breaks off her argument with the unseen opponent and starts speaking, in increasingly loud tones, to the guy in the back. "Get a job. Stop following me around. Get a job. I'm not paying for you, and neither is Karl Rove." She gets increasingly loud. "Get a job! Just because you're retarded doesn't mean you can drag me down with you. Some of us work for a living. Get some training, find a counselor. Get a job! Get a job! I'm not paying for you. You can stop following me. Follow Karl Rove, follow Cheney. Get a job!"
Finally the loud guy left, and the woman in blue slacks returned to continue her quarrel with the person who wasn't across the table from her. An hour later, she had taken out a dog-earred spiral bound notebook and was writing something, pausing occasionally to glare balefully at the person who wasn't across the table. I had finished my chapter and had to go. I wonder how long she stayed, and if she ever got her point across to her opponent.