As I’m writing down my faulty thoughts and recollections of my conversation with Ava, surrounded by power outages all over “the Valley” here, the rabid white woman leans toward me and addresses me.
But, in the time that the rabid white woman has been left with herself after Ava got up from the Comfy Chair next to her, the rabid woman’s attention has wandered into her mind’s kitchen, poured herself another cup, and has now calmed down a bit. So she turns to me and asks me if I would like a magazine on art auctions that she is not going to read. It’s got nice pictures of art and stuff, she explains, flipping through the pages to show me. That’s a nice gesture. I’m grateful that she is not full-time rabid.
Thanks, but no, I say to her and so she continues after she pauses to judge my answer.
“I’m an actress,” she says. “I’m emotional, okay? I need my emotions. My emotions are required as part of my business, to be emotional, you know?” I am able to track that she’s referring to/explaining her interaction with the black woman.
I think I will not encourage her in a discussion of whether being run by your emotions is necessary or even advisable out in the real world. Even though she is coherent and conversational, and I could easily engage her in the particulars of the use of emotions and “sense memory” as utilized in the Strasberg’s Method acting technique, I refrain.
When I first arrived in Los Angeles from the deep Midwest, in the first three months, in this order, I got signed with a talent manager as an actor; got put into one of Hollywood’s top acting schools; landed a featured role in an independent feature film; and got a call from Danny DeVito himself. Bet you’d like to know more about this, but you’ll have to wait for that blog entry…
Gilbert the barista comes over to check on me and see if I got plugged in okay and asks if I want a refill. I don’t and he says that it’s been unusually busy tonight because of the power outages.
The woman then apologizes to Gilbert about not giving up her seat to me earlier, when Gilbert actually took me over to the Comfy Chairs and asked the white woman if she would mind giving up her seat so I could have access to the power outlet. I wouldn’t have any part of that, as nice as it was for Gilbert to ask for me, and besides, the white woman hedged at that. She now apologizes to Gilbert that she was deeply involved in her conversation with the black woman. She understands now, what Gilbert’s request for the chair was about.
After Gilbert goes back behind the counter, the rabid woman who is not rabid anymore continues to talk to me and makes a joke. It’s actually funny and I laugh and she is surprised at herself, saying that she’s not very often funny or witty. I can believe that. I choose to compliment her on her being witty, though.
“But the people at this Starbucks are very funny,” she says.
“You mean the people who come in here?” I ask.
“No, the staff here”.
“Gilbert?” I ask. “Is he funny?”
“No, not Gilbert”.
“Not Gilbert?” I ask.
“No, the others.”
Now, this is interesting because earlier I had gone up to the counter to ask Gilbert a question – I didn’t have any idea of what I was going to ask him, though. I had to make something up because I wanted to have something interesting for the About This Coffeehouse section of the post. So on the spot when Gilbert came to me, I asked him what was something that no one knew about him that he thought people would want to know, that he would want others to know. It kind of puts a person on the spot, but I’m not one much for small talk. How would you react to someone asking you something like that?
Here’s how Gilbert reacted, though:
“Wow,” he said, reflecting on the question. “No one’s ever asked me anything like that.”
“Really?” I ask.
Gilbert is a little stunned by the question.
“Is it alright that I ask that of you?”
He thinks again, then says yes, sure. So I repeat the question.
He says, “Well, a while back I was really depressed. No one knows that about me.”
“You mean you were clinically depressed?”
“Why would you want others to know that about you?” I ask.
“Because I got over it.”
God bless him. Gilbert wants to let people know that you can get over depression. He wants people know that he got over depression. What a genuine person.
Then I ask, “How did you get over it?”
“I went through lots of good counseling, was put on some antidepressants, and just took some time.”
“Are you still on the drugs?”
“Oh, no. I’m all done with that.”
“And you’re okay now?”
“Yeah, I’m doing really well.”
I really get it that he’s doing well and I tell him how impressed I am with him and his answering that question. He says to me that he really appreciates me asking. He’s really kind of stunned that someone – a stranger, even – would ask him something like that and asks why I would ask him that. I tell him the truth; that I don’t know why; I was just moved to ask him that question. I felt somehow he needed to be asked that. Is that the Holy Spirit working through us? I believe so. I believe I’ve experienced Him working this way at other times. Is this a common thing? What’s your experience with this?
NOTE: Someday someone’s going to actually offer an answer to the questions I ask in these posts. I look forward to that. END NOTE.
Gilbert smiles broadly. That he’s come through something like that shows in his kindness and friendliness. Maybe it’s still too soon for him to be funny, though. I could understand that.
The white woman looks through a newspaper. I’m hoping there’s nothing in there that will set her off so I can get some writing done, but since it’s the Los Angeles Times, I’m not hopeful.
I AM the CoffeeHouse Blogger. Hear me type!
Continued in Part 4:
Coffeehouse discussions in the ancient Assyrian language; Being powerless can be a beautiful thing.
About This CoffeeHouse at Conclusion