Sunday, November 4, 2007

cuppa joe

So I am sipping coffee at a local coffee shop The Smooth Grind because the only things that change there are the homemade muffin flavors. Every Thursday a group of women gather from the Curves down the strip, put two tables together and yammer for an hour or so. I first noticed them at the end of summer because one of the members would bring boxes of tomatoes and zucchini and plastic carrying bags for each friend to take some home. I was so jealous. This Thursday I forgot what day it was but took a chance they were finishing up so I could read in peace. Actually three women remained for the duration so don't blame me for eavesdropping, which I did. I traded peace and quiet for wisdom.
I'm changing the names to protect us all but their story involved a couple named Barbara and Biff. All the women knew Barbara from way back but had really not seen much of Biff because he had mysteriously taken an early retirement and even more mysteriously spent the majority of his days in their basement. Remember 'basement' because it'll make sense later. Apparently B. & B. have been married forever and Barbara hasn't really changed much in her acceptance of life, marriage, and liberation of women in general and of the rest of her friends seated at the Smooth Grind this morning in particular. Her name was lobbed around the table until it reached one woman who spoke for them all by summing up Barbara's foibles: 'her mind just goes only so far.'
They began to whisper and there's only so far I could lean in before falling off my chair, but I did gather 'Lutheran,' and 'made her bed.' Every Barbara anecdote involved her being very attached to what Biff would think or say or do. Much tut-tutting, head shaking and some current psychological babble ensued before the spokeswoman admonished the group: 'Hell, we're all of us roller derby women! Look how hard we've worked to get things our way. And don't kid yourself, so have all the husbands! They got what they've wanted too.'

[ And the words of the poets are written on the subway walls. Thank you, Paul Simon.]

The laughter died down when someone else remembered one more anecdote about Barbara worth repeating. Whenever she's invited to hang out with these women, Barbara gets a certain look on her face then weakly declines because of what Biff might think. Question: 'how will Biff know you've even gone with us?' Apparently Barbara said, 'he will because he won't hear my footsteps upstairs and then he'll wonder. . . ' Well, this friend told the group, "I told Barbara: hire a babysitter to walk around upstairs for the time you're gone. Hell, he'll never know you left!' The laughter was contagious and I had to spit my coffee back in my cup or risk asphyxiation.

So, there you have it, words to live by. And the corollary, pick your coffee shops carefully. But I raise my coffee to all of us roller-derby queens!


Marianne said...

Roller derby queens... all of us.
I'd go coffe sipping with you any old day, any old where, but especially to be an 'eavesdropper in arms'... I don't think I could've NOT laughed out loud.
I love your stories.

were all the veggies gone?

Old Wom Tigley said...

Ha! I was really getting into that then... more more..

alphawoman said...


Granny Smith said...

I'm sitting at my computer laughing. Thanks for sharing your coffee shop experience!

Julie Schuler said...

I love your stories! I love the picture with the "Tastee Freeze" ice cream stand. My grandmother called every ice cream place a "Tastee Freeze".