Why do strangers think it's okay to come up to me and have mindless conversations about crap? Can they not hear me silently screaming for a few minutes of PEACE AND QUIET?
I'm sitting in Starbucks in a perfect state of tranquility, a steaming latte in one hand and a book in the other. Oliver is sleeping next to me in the stroller. It's what I choose to do on my mornings off when the sitter is watching Matthew, when I'm not running errands or keeping appointments. Because really how often can you sit with a coffee and a book for a whole, blissful hour, at home? Yes, never.
An elderly lady approaches and asks if she can take the seat opposite.
"Of course." I say politely. I'm at ease with the world.
After a few minutes I feel her stare penetrating my skin. I glance up with a half-friendly smile.
"How old is your baby?" She asks. Dammit. Here we go, I think. Please, old lady, leave me alone. I have a couple of hours a week to relax, and I don't want to spend it talking to you - fascinating as I'm sure this conversation will be.
"3 months." I say, as shortly as possible without being rude, and quickly return to my book.
"Is he your first?"
"No, my second."
"Oh. Where is your first?"
"At home with my sitter. This is my morning off - where I come for a coffee and some alone time." I say smiling through gritted teeth.
"Where abouts in England are you from."
For the love of God...
"London." Again I squeeze out a forced semi-smile and then I'm right back down to my book. Surely now I've made it clear I want to be left alone.
This time I'm not looking up. When I don't reply the silence goes on for a few hopeful minutes.
"Is that one of those books about computers?"
I grip the book a little tighter, trying to control the irritation rising in my stomach. Why do you want to know lady? What do you want from me?
"Mm-hmm." I manage this sound without actually looking up from the book.
"I don't understand computers, me...blah blah blah blah blah blah blah" .
So I've concocted an evil little plan that involves taking a face mask with me next time. If anyone approaches I'll tell them I think I may have the swine flu.