Dash of Sass: The People Who Sit Next to Me in Coffee Shops, Volume 2: The Annoying Couple
Quote of the Day:
“Every day you have to make choices that ensure the thing you love continues to thrive. So if you find a way of life that is good for you, do whatever it takes to keep it. Complacency — the middle ground — is the attractive, safe choice. But fall into complacency, and that thing you love might wander off and be gone before you notice. Then what? Better to protect it in the first place. A relationship does not protect itself; it requires active work and humility. A way of life does not protect itself; it requires discipline and attention.” ~Chris Guillebeau
The Single Woman Says:
I started a blog series recently detailing the interesting, odd, and sometimes completely off-the-wall people who sit next to me at coffee shops. Since I work from coffee shops at least 2-3 times a week, and since seating at coffee shops is usually pretty tightly packed and intimate, I’m privy to a lot of fascinating conversations. It seems the weirder the conversation, the more likely the person is to sit by me. I don’t mind – I welcome it, actually. It inspires me, challenges me, encourages me, and enlightens me. I’m always looking for life lessons in even the most unlikely of places, and where better to find life lessons than in the theater of LIFE?
However, a few weeks ago, a couple sat next to me that didn’t inspire me or challenge me or encourage me or enlighten me at all. In fact, they…well, they annoyed me. They didn’t annoy me in the typical “I’m single and here’s an adorable couple that looks like they just stepped out of a Gap ad holding hands and whispering sweet nothings into one another’s ears five feet from me until I have to fight the urge to projectile vomit.” No, it wasn’t one of those situations at all. Though they DID look like they just stepped out of a Gap ad – both tall, attractive, dentally flawless and perfectly coiffed and dressed as they were – but they were annoying for a completely different reason. The guy apparently had the idea to pick up one of those books that has “getting to know you questions” as a way to increase the intimacy in their relationship. You could tell they had been together for awhile, so it’s not like they were strangers to one another. He just seemed like he was 100%, wholly, entirely, heart and soul invested in the relationship and wanted to spend some time getting even closer to his lady. SWOON. Right? I mean, most men are just working overtime to just get naked with their girlfriends…yet, here was a guy who was looking to strip down and get EMOTIONALLY naked with his significant other, clearly because he was madly, head over heels in love with her and wanted to get even closer to her on a heart level than he already was. As I perked my ears up to hear their conversation better (yes, I was blatantly being nosy and I am unapologetic), waiting for her to melt into a puddle and reply to his earnest questions with words of love and passion and vulnerability (because what girl in her right mind WOULDN’T?), instead I heard something else. For every question he asked, she came back with an evasive, almost annoyed-sounding answer. She would sigh and cross her arms over her chest and roll her eyes, answering his sweet, hopeful questions with “I don’t know!” and “That’s stupid!” and “How am I supposed to answer that?!” in a shrill, irritated voice, like she had SO many other better things to do than sit there and share a frappuccino and her heart with a man who clearly adored her.
It was astonishing. I was completely floored. Like, so much so, I had to literally, physically stop myself from getting up and going over to their table and smacking (at least verbally) some sense into her.
Now, obviously I don’t know the details of their relationship, but from the outside looking in, it appeared that this girl has the very man that most of us dream about but have not yet experienced. He was warm, he was loving, he was engaged, he was attentive, he was emotionally open and vulnerable and offering her heart a safe place to land and she was just coldly tossing it all back in his face with every sarcastic answer she gave. Finally after a good half hour of her reticence, he gave up and they sat there silently picking at their coffee cake and muffin. The love that most of us wish for and hope for and pray for and believe for was there, right in front of her face, and all she could do was scoff at it. I suspect, just from what I saw of them, that she simply takes for granted that her sweet, kind, open man will always be HER sweet, kind, loving man…and I also suspect she hasn’t likely spent much time single and in the trenches of dating life and its many emotionally unavailable and commitment-phobic men. She was the classic case of having everything she could possibly want right in front of her face, so close she couldn’t see it. And it made me want to scream. At her, at the situation, even at God for blessing HER with someone who she so clearly didn’t appreciate. But mostly, it made me want to appreciate the things I have more. My family, my friends, my career, my home, my health, my blessings. They’re not perfect, but they’re MINE. Uniquely mine, sitting across from me at the coffee shop staring me in the face, while I was staring over at unappreciative girl next to me wishing for HER blessings. Which makes me just about as annoying as she was. And brings me to the lesson in the annoying couple who I originally thought didn’t teach me anything except how to be annoyed.
Appreciate what you have. It’s there, right in front of you, waiting for you to see it. If you waste all your time staring around at the blessings of those all around you, or taking for granted the wonderful, special, amazing things in your own life, you’ll spend all your time being miserable. What are you taking for granted today? What are you crossing your arms and rolling your eyes and huffing in the face of instead of praising and celebrating and appreciating? Both me and annoying girl were blinded to our own blessings, she because she didn’t appreciate hers, and me because I was coveting someone else’s. Nothing you have will ever be enough so long as you gaze longingly over at the person’s life next to you or fail to appreciate your own life that’s right in front of you. Instead of wishing for what they have, get thankful for what YOU have.
I thought the annoying couple sat beside me to teach me how to appreciate love once I’ve found it…but they were really there to teach me how to appreciate everything that has already found ME.