So I’m sitting in a lovely, lovely coffee shop in downtown Charleston. Actually, it’s a bookstore. Not like Books-A-Million, or Barnes and Nobles; or Borders; not a franchise. Rather, it’s a lovely stand up all by itself, with its own private atmosphere and charm, bookstore. I browsed around a bit; spent sixty bucks on books, magazines, magnets and two boxes of knowledge cards. One of Great African Americans and the other Great Lines from Great Movies (the latter is so I can stump my sister and my niece in our never ending movie trivia competition.) Then I chose a place to light and open my laptop to write.
I was just about to sit in a spot near the front windows when I noticed a man sitting close by talking rather loudly for the location. I heard him use a couple of “heated words,” I winced and looked at the people sitting to the right of me for solace.
“Is he talking to someone on the phone? Does he have an earbob in his ear?” I asked them.
“No,” they answered. “We were just about to warn you, you may not want to sit there.”
“Thanks,” I said, and chose another seat not quite so close to loud man.
As I was moving away I heard some more of his conversation with whoever wasn’t there and he was obviously upset and getting some things off his chest. He was just saying, “If you want to act like an indecent bitch….”
I actually wanted to sit close and hear the rest of his altercation, but I didn’t dare. I am that person whom a crazy man will feel some kind of kinship toward and decide to turn his attention to me. I know… it’s a gift. I naturally have that sympathetic, “I’m willing to listen” face. So I’ve had to learn to compensate for my “come hither and fuck with me” look by exchanging my Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm smiling face for a “You really don’t want to mess with me” demeanor.
It’s not a frown, nor a scowl, but rather a straight look of piercing eyes that do not blink; lips that are closed, pressed together but only in the very mildest beginning of being pursed; jaws that are just taunt enough to define the cheekbones with head slightly tilted forward and to one side or the other. I learned this from my husband. He is the Master. I can turn it on and off now, after many years under his expert tutelage. And it absolutely works. Every time.
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