It is really amazing how strangers use small talk to exhibit themselves. All of these verbal cues, each telling us valuable things in such short poetic sentences. Effortless, completely effortless my dear.
I was getting coffee the other day and the woman in line ahead of me was just rambling on and on to the barista. The barista looked uncomfortable, but he also had this very sincere sort of apologetic expression on his face. I realized that they didn't know each other even remotely. My attention was caught and I was sucked into the bottomless vortex of eves dropping, when I heard her order a muffin. She was debating what kind to get. She knew she was hungry; it had been a while since she had last eaten. Being that it was quite early in the morning, I take it that she was telling him, and me subsequently (being in obvious ear shot) that she is either much too busy or much to broke to eat all that often. If she had said that in the afternoon, I would have guess that she just woke up late and hadn’t eaten yet TODAY. But since it was so early, the way she emphasized it, it was clear that she didn't eat last night either. Then she went on about what kind to get. There was only two varieties avaliable: bran, and lemon-poppy seed. She finally chose bran. Her vocal reasoning was, that she didn't want to fail her drug test today. She was smiling so pleasantly from ear to ear when she said this, pride was oozing out her rather large pores. Now, it really wasn't difficult to gather that something was changing in her life, and by the way she smiled, it was something she has been waiting for. Most often when we take a drug test, it is because one is on the verge of accomplishing something new. Something that is important enough that it is necessary to make sure that they won't fuck it up by showing up hella high everyday. I suppose it could have been a moderately random drug test from her 15-year and counting desk job, but her smile and tone suggested differently. She was so fucking happy about that drug test; she needed to tell someone, even if it was the local barista.
I could have listened all day, cycling in my mind what her life was like. Unfortunately she was close to being late for something (and she called it SOMETHING), so the conversation ended. I ordered my drink, kind of speechless and sat and stared at the wall. So now I know all of these things about this stranger that I don't think I will ever see again, and if I do I doubt I will recognize her. I have lost a little sleep, to be honest. I am so worried that things didn't work out for her. She was so close to having it all right….