Sunday, March 21, 2010

Unlikely Rebel

I am a rule follower by nature. I miss opportunities otherwise seized by the majority on the basis that they may run a slight risk of violating some potentially unwritten law. To this end, I miss out on many a good parking spot on the off chance I could be towed. But today I broke as many written and unwritten rules as possible, most in the area of etiquette and human decency. In church this morning it was offered that we often express anger as a response to our own feelings of hurt, frustration and fear. While not angry, I did act out of all three emotions today and enjoyed doing so. Following service, which I attended alone, I drove without informing anyone in my family, to my favorite coffee house. Broken Rule #1. Off to a fine start. Upon arrival, I found that it had undergone extensive, and in my opinion unnecessary and unwelcome renovation. Nevertheless, I took a seat at the bar in the window and watched the prettiest snowfall, drank the worst latte, and enjoyed the solitude.

I chose this place because on past visits I had wondered to myself why such a gem was so sadly under patronized and today 'quiet' was on my agenda. Unfortunately, sleek cappuccino machines, shiny new bamboo flooring, flashy decking with modern handrails, and granite counter tops seem to coax the residents of Jericho out of their otherwise sleepy farmhouses on snowy Sunday mornings. In a misery loves company moment, a large woman dressed in pink sat uncomfortably close to me. I had taken the middle seat at the three person bar to make it less likely that anyone would sit next to me. These are not the rules by which I typically play, but this was not a typical morning. I was in an almost visible bubble and I was liking it. Her proximity was so close that it forced me to gather my newspaper innards, stack them neatly, tuck my elbows in and put my latte mug on top of my paper making it impossible to flip the pages at my leisure. I became so uncomfortable with this posturing that I hummed along loudly with the tune playing in the coffee house which seemed to work. A sideways glace in my direction on her part, and not one bar into "Round Here" by the Counting Crows and she was gone. Rule #2 shattered.

I was surprised to find myself feeling so mutinous after church and in the coffee shop to which I had come to soul search. But then I do enjoy the rare and sporadic digression into sarcasm and in fact at the inception of this blog I all but promised such forays to its readers. As a writer I find it fascinating to write in different states of mind and this was certainly a different state of mind. Immediately following the ingenious humming incident I decided that writing in this, at best overtired and at worst unhinged, state should yield something funny if not perhaps admissible in court. So I did what any Sunday morning-post church-rule breaker might do I grabbed the newly renovated coffee shop's menu, flipped it over and started writing. Rule #3...nearly unforgivable.

Sometimes I stare blankly at my laptop waiting for inspiration, but today I wondered how many menus I could swipe before they thanked me for my gracious $5.25 purchase and tossed me out onto the brand new porch. As the snow continued to fall the words gushed from brain to pen to menu and my smile grew wider and likely more odd to those around me. Two menus later I found myself less cantankerous, kind of liking the smooth granite counter, feeling bad about the girl I'd hummed out of there and looking forward to heading home. I am a rule follower by nature. So even when I set out to break them, I am generally the only one who notices. But sometimes going rogue, if only in one’s mind, is just the outlet we need to turn a bad day around. It really was a beautiful, sugary snowfall.

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