The other day, I did a thing I don't do very often. It's a thing I want to do... or want to want to do, maybe... but it's never as good as it seems in my head. I took my notebook with me to the cafe and figured I'd get an Aztec and sit and write for a while. The family was out of town and what better indulgence could there be with no demands on my time, right?
And, see, that's the part where it always sounds better than it turns out, because, almost as soon as I found a place to sit outside, a parent from my kids' school came by and started talking to me. Is it just me, when I am sitting bent over my notebook with my pen going, who thinks that should be a signal not to be disturbed? But that wasn't even the real problem. The real problem is that I didn't really know who the woman was other than that I had seen her on the campus. I don't even know who her kid is. But, then, because I have worked with, basically, the entire middle school in regards to creative writing and because everyone knows me as someone who has published books, lots of people know who I am whom I don't know at all.
But she thought I should know her and talked to me as if I knew who her kid is and what it is she was talking about. And I sat politely through it wondering how I could get back to what I was doing without being rude. The answer there is that you can't.
Eventually, she left. And so did I, because I didn't want to run into anyone else who wanted to talk at me. So I went across the street to the hotel that has the creek running behind it and sat on one of the benches there with goal of getting back to work. There's also a park right there, a park where homeless people tend to hang out.
Not long after I got back to work, one of said homeless guys came by. He wanted to use my phone. To order a pizza. He had money. It would only take a moment. He'd give it right back. He did this kind of thing all the time. I'm not sure if, by that, he meant borrowing people's phones or having pizza delivered to the park. Maybe both. The problem, of course, is that I don't have a phone.
Okay, the real problem was that the guy didn't believe me when I told him that I don't have a phone. And, hey, I get it; everyone has a phone. Except me. And, well, maybe everyone he asks to borrow a phone, because maybe that was why he was so persistent. Maybe everyone tells him they don't have a phone in order to get him to leave. Posers.
So we argued over the fact that I don't have a phone with him trying to convince me of why I should let him use it. The non-existent phone. Until, finally, he left. Sort of. Because he almost immediately came back. I mean, he went around the curve in the path, I looked back down at my notebook and tried to figure out what word I was supposed to be writing, and there he was again. "Are you sure you don't have a phone? I just want to order a pizza." And we went through the whole thing again.
Then, he left.
Except, 10 or 15 minutes later, he came back. Now, the thing to know here is that when he came back, he acted as if I was some completely new person. It was like we had never even spoken before, and we had to have the whole conversation over again. And I swear I heard him mumble something like, "The other guy didn't have a phone, either," when he was leaving.
And I left, too, because, man... I suppose that's why I never go to the cafe or anything like that to do any writing.
I did feel bad for the guy, and I hope he got his pizza. But, really, I don't own a phone.