Saturday, May 24, 2008

I Pick Fights with Old Ladies in Coffee Shops

yes, it is true,

just ask krissy
'cause she was there

suddenly feeling like i wet my pants
shame faced i tried to explain my view

for being too loud

as the woman at the next table
gestured to me and told me to
'turn it down'

'am i being too loud'
her and her friend nod annoyed

i feel awful
in the moment of joy
this closing down

i initially apologize
but it sits on my chest
like the undigested
spanakopita that i have
just forked in

i make idle
trying to let the women
be thankful for good hearing
i mention my mother
being deaf

ah yes, says one of course
that is why
you really arn't a brute, as you appeared
but do have a ligitimate reason

we will let you live

wait a friggin minute i say to myself
feeling trampled and shut down
feeling such shame
not intending to harm anyone
but also wanting to be able to raise
my voice our voices in joy and understanding
enjoying the moments and tea and the sun
coming in, in our own private space
wait a cotton pickin minute

this is not sitting down well with me
and at that point it might of been better
to take thich nat hanh's advice of
do nothing when you are angry

but i did it
i piped up for all it was worth
and said
i want you to know i feel awful
it feels as if you slapped me in the face

which at that time was not an exageration
i felt eight and too old to have wet my pants

the old woman
who we suspect is never wrong

i never wanted to slap anyone in the face
well that is what it felt like

the women turn inward
afraid perhaps,
wanting us to go away

and the woman who threw the gesture and words
says shame faced now
loud enough for our ears
no longer in her whisper tea room voice
now i am sitting here guilty for something that someone else did wrong

because of course she is always right'
i guess

really it was one of those situations
pema chodron calls them hooks
some people call them buttons
i have heard it reffered to as rattling someones cage

and the advice of the buddhist teacher chodron
is to notice it and choose peace
to not let yourself be hooked
based on non-violence and that we are all the same
self goo

i did get hooked,
cage rattled

and i did something so unusual for me
stood up and didn't accept it
let someone else know the consequence of their action

i am not sure i handled this situation well
too emotional too hooked but i did say what i wanted
conveyed to this other woman my feelings
from where i sat

by the window with the lovely orange gerbera daisy
single and fun in a jar on the table

next time
i will try it again
only with more kindness

walking over
with civility
and saying
in quiet words

i am sorry you feel i am too loud
would you please come over to me
and tell me of your concern
instead of broadcasting it to the
entire room, as it makes me feel
terribly small, unimportant,
in the wrong and very embarrased

thank you.

so much for fights with old ladies
in coffee shops

i so much prefer love


krissy said...

hey, it did become a poem/story! the title makes me giggle. i hope you are not fretting as you handled yourself very well, dear kim. however, i guess it never hurts to learn something from the buddhist leaders...from what little i know, they sound quite wise. but i tell you, that woman could have even made the dalai lama tremble a bit!

Lauren said...

you rebel, you! ;) ive had something like that happen to me, recently. The hurt and bewilderment followed me home. But i love how you shared this experience. Im never quite sure how to handle these kinds of situations...i guess there are always a million ways. Yours seemed just fine to me! :)

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