Course 201 Emotional Amplifiers
|Teresa sat at her laptop on a tiny table smack in the middle of the bustling cafe. It was the only place left to sit amongst the skinny jeans clad, Warby Parker wearing young folks breathing deep California breaths. Focused on her work, it had been easy for her to block out the murmured conversations, shouting for order pickups, clinking of silverware on dishes, and the occasional nudges to her elbows from passersby.
The intoxicating odor of some sort of soup wafting throughout the room plucked at her attention seductively. What was that? Chicken noodle? Vegetable barley? With not a small stab of anticipation she realized it was broccoli cheddar. Her favorite. Teresa looked up from the glow of the screen and realized there was no avoiding it, her stomach was beginning to summon her to action.
"I've got to finish this page and send this out before noon..." she groaned to herself. "Surely I can hold out at least that long."
Picking up where she left off proved to be difficult, her focus became littered across the room. Her stomach gnawed and groaned, bubbles gurgled from somewhere in the hollow depths.
Finally getting underway again, her fingers flew frantically across the keyboard. She found herself less concerned about the quality of the work than she had been before the urgent nudges of her belly hijacked her focus. As long as she got it on the damn page, and out of her inbox by noon... "It's a first draft for christ's sake, of course it isn't going to be perfect!" She hissed onto the screen. It stared back at her blankly, indifferent to her suffering.
As she typed, Teresa realized she was getting downright nauseous. She muffled a small burp that tasted like the vanilla latte she'd finished an hour ago. "Gross." she thought.
What was it her grandmother used to say? "Eat before your stomach turns over on itself!" Ugh. She wondered how many deadlines grandma had blown off because she thought she was gonna waste away in some hipster cafe.
She finished up the rest of the paper and sent it out. Thank. God.
Teresa rushed to get in line, leaving her laptop at the table along with her phone. Of course the line moved as if everyone was knee deep in quicksand.
She listened to the woman at the front of the line give her order. She was three spaces ahead, close enough that Teresa could hear her.
"Oh my God, I just don't know which one I want, they all look so good!" She looked intently into the bakery case.
"For all that's good and holy in the world, PICK SOMETHING WOMAN!!" Teresa fumed.
Teresa realized her lips were pressed together tightly and her jaw was clenched tight. She knew she must have resting bitch face but she really didn't care. Hopefully it would scare everyone else off in line in front of her. She shifted from foot to foot. Maybe some swaying would help take her mind off the fact that she was now beginning to feel lightheaded. Maybe the swaying was because she was lightheaded, she wasn't too sure.
After what seemed like an eternity standing behind the world's most irritating people, Teresa finally got to the front of the line. "Ok, I'll have a bread bowl of the broccoli cheese soup, the club sandwich, and a chocolate croissant." Her words spilled across the counter like a handful of dropped pennies. The cashier looked at her and raised her thinly plucked eyebrows. She couldn't have been more than 17.
"Maybe I'll just lunge across the counter and have her for lunch." Teresa thought to herself with mean-spirited amusement. "Naw. Too skinny."
"Um, do you want the soup, half-sandwich combo?" the girl asked timidly. The resting bitch face struggle was real.
"No. I want the whole soup. The whole sandwich. And the chocolate croissant. Please." Teresa struggled upstream to keep from being rude to this little girl. Had she no idea of the sense of urgency here?!?
"Ok..." she continued with trepidation, "what would you like to drink with that?"
"Bottled, or..." The cashier couldn't finish her sentence before Teresa stopped her in her tracks.
"Bottled is fine. How many orders up before mine?" she thought twice about whether or not she really wanted the answer to this question. "Nevermind."
The cashier's bangles around her skinny wrist tinkled together as she rang up Teresa's order. Her long, acrylic nails tapped the touchscreen. The noise made Teresa want to run screaming from the room.
The cashier handed her the receipt after Teresa tapped her card to the ipay pad, she was visibly relieved to see Teresa walk away.
After what seemed like an eternity, her food was up at the counter. She took it carefully across the crowded room to her little table. She dodged elbows and artfully skirted people with important places to go as they strode to the doors.
That first bite of soup made her want to cry. It was velvety and tangy, with a hint of sweet broccoli. She couldn't care less about burning the roof of her mouth. Relief rolled down her throat, bringing all things comfort and contentment. She smiled into the air and realized that everyone in this place wasn't so annoying after all...