Notes from the bookstore cafe: An arthritic lady wearing a lovely flowered dress and a very nice coat and two of those bracelets with pictures of saints on them shuffled to the table next to me and left her four canvas shopping bags. She went to the counter to fetch her coffee, returned, and spilled almost the whole thing on the floor and her coat. And nobody helped her! Full tables all around us, and nobody helped her. I gave her my napkins and went to the counter; the only barista there said “OK” to me and then failed to call anybody to help. I brought the lady more napkins and then went to find another employee. By the time that person came with a mop, the nicely dressed arthritic lady had cleaned up the whole mess herself!
I told her I was glad she hadn’t spilled any on her pretty dress anyhow; she said it was her coat she was worried about (it had just been dry-cleaned) and that she’d been hoping the coffee would wake her up; I said it looks like she’s had a full day of shopping and looked at her canvas bags; she said oh no, those are just her books and things — and I considered my ever-present, overflowing leather sack, and I saw my future before me if I don’t take care.
She settled in with what was left of her coffee. She dug into one bag, searching for something. Out came prayer books, lives of saints, notebooks, rosary, scotch tape, bundles of membership and business cards, calendars, address book, breath mints, envelopes, mailing supplies, magazines, pens, more notebooks. She dug into the next bag: more of same. She asked me to watch her stuff while she went to her car — four bags of stuff she had, and whatever she was looking for was not in there! She returned and checked her coat pocket — ah, there it was. Another certain bundle of business and membership cards.
Now she’s scribbling in a notebook. And so am I. But at least I only have one overstuffed bag of crazy-lady crap to lose things in.