I was sitting in Barnes and Noble. Usually I find a quiet corner of the store and get all settled in there, but for some reason I was compelled to move today and sit in the cafe.
While I was sitting in the cafe, I started thinking. I thought about my friends and family. I thought about someone I’m really missing and how to get them back. I thought about who I am. I thought about LAMN. I thought about my life. I thought about why I’m here. I was thinking a lot, and in the middle of my thinking I would tap on my laptop and play with my sketchbook a little, answering texts every once in awhile. While I was spacing out, old men sat around me sipping on their coffees and picking at their blueberry muffins.
Suddenly the old guy sitting directly to my right said, “you’re making a lot of noise over there.”
I was kind of puzzled, I had been in such a deep daze it took me a moment to figure out that he was indeed talking to me. With the puzzled look still glued to my face, I lifted my head and said, “oh, pardon?”
He had a newspaper spread out all over his small cafe table, with some pages drooping on the floor. He ruffled them as he spread the pages between his fingers and looked through his glasses at me and said, “do you know how?” I finally began catching on a little bit more at this point and replied, “no, how?”
He lifted his hands from his newspaper and I followed them with my eyes as he brought them up to his ears and begin twisted them around. “With your brain,” he paused, “it’s going click click click click click.” He had wrinkles around his eyes where the skin crinkled when he smiled.
I smiled at him then and said, “oh.” He must’ve sensed that I still didn’t really understand because he then added very matter-o-factly, “you’re thinking. A lot.”
I smiled largely at the fact that a random stranger had figured me out. I nodded yes as I looked down at my lap and replied, “yes. You’re right.”
I thought to myself for a single moment and when I looked up again, he was gone.
The crinkly newspaper that had been sprawled all over the small cafe table, was gone. The old man, gone. Nothing there to show that he had even existed.
I looked around expecting to find him somewhere, but he was nowhere to be seen. Only a few seconds after I scanned the area around me. A very young man came walking behind me and stared me in the eyes and said simply, “how are you today?”
I replied without thinking, I’m great.
He walked away, and my head felt all the pressure from the focusing I had been doing moments before.
I’m still trying to figure out what just happened.