How to read the news…

For everyone who is sick and tired of the news lately…

I have fallen in love. With a coffee shop. I had a meeting with someone the other day and she proposed we meet there (this is how I am slowly learning my new town – I never suggest where to meet, I let others do so and, slowly, I’m learning new places). This place is old enough and quirky enough to have character. There’s an old piano there and I tend to sit either next to it or where I can see it. I keep wanting to sit at the window table on the little stage, but it’s usually taken. Maybe next time.

I like their coffee. I love the vibe. I appreciate the music. I’ve enjoyed the food. And the characters… ah… the characters.

There’s one lady who’s either a little crazy or she is, in fact, saner than most. Aside from my first visit (during which I sat at what I now think of as “her” table), she’s always there before I arrive and shows no signs of leaving when I leave.

She talks to herself. Mutters sometimes, sometimes I can hear what she’s saying. She usually sounds exasperated. Irritated. Her voice takes on a lecturing tone, like a mother who’s explained a thousand times and cannot understand why the kids won’t comply.

Sometimes she dances. Not – it’s important to note – to the rhythm or style of what’s being played in the café. It’s more of a shuffle than a dance. Sometimes she announces it. “I’m dancing!”

She frequently has multiple cups or plates stacked on her table. She drinks tea. Not coffee. Always the same table. She slouches in the chair like a teenager listening to a boring class. She has this look about her. Like she’s frustrated with the stupidity of the world around her. I look at her and see Ruth Zardo in her 50s (Gamache-land reference – from the Louise Penny books). Without the scotch. Maybe.

Last time I was in there she decided to read the newspapers. Not hers. The ones that are kept in a basket over the old piano. She read and muttered. A lot. Then she’d stare out into space for a while. Mutter again.

Then… she glared at the newspaper and ripped it. Right down the middle. Then, still muttering, she crumbled the paper in her hands, threw them on the floor. Stomped on it a couple of times – for good measure.

She picked up the scraps and held them in her hands while staring quietly, no longer muttering, into space. She then made her way to the waste basket and threw them away.

On the way back from the waste basket, she did a little dance (not a shuffle – this was more like square dancing) on her way back to her seat.

I thought maybe those who are frustrated with the news can adopt her technique for reading it.

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