Sunday, January 13, 2013

Awkward Situation

After yesterday's day of ultimate laziness and a relatively early bedtime of 11:30 (trust me, that's early by my standards), it was no surprise to me when I woke up early this morning ( a little before 8. Hush. That is early for a weekend. By my standards).

Anyway, I knew if I didn't get moving there was a good chance that today would be a repeat of yesterday, so I got myself ready and was out the door by 9 am. I took myself out to breakfast and then spontaneously decided it would be a good day to play tourist downtown.

I'll elaborate on that more in another post this week (because bloggable material was also a motivator in getting out the door this morning and I'm not wasting that all on one post), but for now I want to focus on today's moments of extreme awkward.

I'm never far from a book that needs to be read, so I decided to take a break in my wanderings and park myself in a downtown Starbucks to get some reading in.

I got my drink and settled into one of the only open tables in the store and started reading. I had been there awhile, at least 20 minutes, when I noticed a woman I assume to be homeless, walking towards my table. I had seen her when I first entered the store, sitting at the table I ended up at, but it was empty once I got my drink and I figured she left. She approached the table and started putting her many bags down on the floor, in the space between the table and the condiments bar. Then she stood there. With her back to me, right at the side of the table for several minutes.

I was perplexed, but kept reading.  

Then she sat down with me.

I'll be honest, I thought about getting up and leaving, but... well, I didn't want to be rude. So, I just shifted my stuff that was strewn across the table closer to me and, just kept reading.

Then she started mumbling to herself, and then crying.

I had no clue what to do. I felt like I should ask if she was ok, but I had a feeling the answer would be no and really, what could I do to help make things better? Again, I considered leaving, but that seemed like it would have been even more rude now so... I just kept reading.

This all took place over the course of 5-10 minutes I'd say, maybe more. She'd stop crying, then start again. She's sit quietly, then mumble to herself. I just read. Mostly skimming actually, as I was close to finishing the book and as soon as I finished I could leave and not feel rude.

Then, she said "excuse me ma'am, do you have any money so I could get a drink?"

I answered honestly, I didn't have cash, but I offered to get her a drink. She decided on a tea, so I went and got it and then kicked myself for not asking if she needed something to eat as well.  I brought the tea back over, sat down and continued reading.

We spent about 10 more minutes sitting at the table together - at one point she asked if I wanted a sip of her tea, I declined - and I finished my book. I decided to put some money on a Starbucks card for her before I left, so she could get warm drinks again and have a reason to be in the store, out of the cold as today's weather was certainly an anomaly.

I left the store half feeling like I handled it well and half feeling like I should have done something completely different. I'm glad I resisted the urge to just walk away, and the urge to be confrontational about her sitting at my table (that one passed in an instant as I don't really have a confrontational bone in my body), and I'm glad she asked for a drink and that I thought to get the gift card.

But still, it seems so inadequate in the grand scheme of things.

And awkward. So very, very awkward.

No comments:

Post a Comment