Quick Tap: no people, please!
How anti-social can you be?
Stephanie ain't exactly a hermitess. She just happen to have that huge chance of not wanting people's direct attention.
Nope. She is not people phobic. She just does not like eyes on her. And even before a conversation starts, she makes sure she dodges it. She works and masters that unspoken conversation between creatures. You know? Like even without words, you kind of know the person next to you will start a conversation. Or the person in front of you who you were not entirely making eye contact with accidentally gets a false hint that you may want a conversation? She has that heightened social hypersensitivity that she mastered so well.
It is not her normal. But then, again, she is now second-guessing her normal. She can be quite chatty given the right companion or group to get into a conversation with. But she can also be that as described above - not wanting even the littlest attention or attempt to.
She is occasionally invisible. That is her superpower. And that instance is now.
However, she is caught in a situation.
The event she attended -ironically one that falls on a Sunday social gathering for normal human beings - just ended. She knows no one in that gathering. It is just as much as she wanted. Go there peacefully on her own. Take in what she can take in.
Join people. But not be with people.
Be part of the picture of the crowd but spinning your own story of a shared public Sunday.
Now that the main social gathering has ended, the crowd is now flocking into the lobby and most are milling out of the building going down to the basement parking and it was a huge flow of people. Stephanie assessed the stairwell. Imagined the crawl down to basement 3. And she decided she did not want to be part of that exodus out just yet and she moved towards the lobby cafe.
The lobby cafe is also crowded, of course. As groups, families, friends gathered to discuss the topic or any topic. She stares at the menu. Reading the coffee prices. Thinking they are pricey but, then again, what else can you do while you wait for the exodus crowd to thin out?
She can move to the bookstore but that would mean battling with her impulse to buy every book there is. She can hang out in the cafe upstairs of that bookstore but that would be placing herself in a smaller, more compact area which might give her that feeling of claustrophobia.
She keeps staring at the menu and checking behind her as well should there be anyone waiting for her to be done staring at the menu and planning her next moves should staring at the menu start becoming too weird for the cashier.
She needs to make a decision before the cashier thinks the silence is taking too long the "customer might need help in deciding what to get". Stephanie moves away from the menu unsure really of what to buy.
Or if she wants to buy.
But how can she not coffee? There is not much to do at the moment!
She glances away from the cafe for a while. Appreciates the huge spacious lobby. Every once in a while straining her ears at the conversations of people passing by. Scanning the crowd but not really making eye contact. Then her eyes go back to the cafe.
Just in time for her to see one person drop hundred peso bill in one of the plastic boxes. She saw him pick a cup from a stash, pick a sleeve, put the cup under one of the thermoses and pump coffee.
Without a word or interaction to any person!
Oh, joy! Heaven!
So she quickly and with much enthusiasm pulled out her hundred peso bill, dropped the bill in the plastic box, did the same as the man did, et voila!
Coffee without saying a word!
She then moves to an empty table with three extra seats and starts watching people around the cafe and taking mental and making quick stories of what may be happening in each table.
She is mighty delighted to see she is not the only one not wanting any interaction.
One lady had her laptop opened and her other things on the table obviously proclaiming she ain't sharing that space and starts playing whatever game she is playing with her laptop.
Another table had another single occupant with earphones stuck in his ears and staring at his cellphone - probably watching some downloaded film.
As she sips her convenient and availed-without-talking-to-anyone coffee, she sighs and proceeds to relax slowly.
Off to few minutes of non-interaction coffee break before heading home. People watching on the side and avoiding any type of conversation but ears perked up for any thing it can catch as she strains her ears listening to stories of each table.
Making my eyes wander around just to think of stories. Killing time.
What is your story?
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