Coffee Spills

What I hear and see and think about at the coffee shops I patronize.
Brisk. Fresh. Well-balanced. Occasional nutty and bittersweet overtones.
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Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The Advice Column

In today's paper the advice column was about people who rudely eavesdrop in restaurants. I read back through my "Coffee Spills" entries to see if I was abusing the privilege, however, I think my entries only refer to 3 or 4 conversations. If you can hear over the latte machines, the clerks' conversations and the ice cubes dropping into the cups, then the people aren't saying anything confidential.

There are times when people stand next to my table and converse so loudly I can't concentrate on my reading, so I figure they are fair game. Right? Like Saturday. Two people greeted right beside my table. I could have picked the lint and cat hair off their slacks, they were so close.

"How are the kids?"
"Great! Susie graduates June 15."
"Fantastic. What does she want to do?"
"She doesn't know. She may come home. Go to OSU. Get a master's."
"In what?"
"She doesn't know, but not music."
"Wow. That's hard to believe."
"Well, to be safe, she's got a bachelor's in education."
They walk toward the door.

And I'm left alone to ponder the life of the 20-something about to graduate. I wonder how much that education (not at our state university 5 miles from the coffee shop) cost those parents. $100,000? More? I wonder if the parents are empty nesters accustomed to having the house to themselves who might wish that after such an investment their daughter could at least have learned enough to support a small one bedroom apartment. How often does that mother put on her "happy face" when talking about Susie?

I think about the friend's shock that Susie is giving up on music. Voice? Piano? Tuba? He must have been aware of her talent--she probably walked away with all the awards and got all the good parts in the school functions. Wonder how much the parents paid for private lessons?

A fall back degree in education. How many have been down that road? Doesn't sound like she'll go that direction for the master's. Not many jobs around here in education--too many highly qualified people for every opening.

A lot to think about when folks stop at my table.


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