Are you sitting down?

The baby’s been kicking enough to keep me reassured. Last night as I was trying to go to sleep he found his preferred spot right on top of my bowel. Trying to remind myself I’d rather have that than nothing, but it’s difficult, and if he gets going too enthusiastically it can be, umm, a little embarrassing.

I’m kind of freaking out because I have to start showing my face in my department again. I haven’t been there in months and months. I’m taking a “job market skills” course that meets for half the semester. I’m anxious about all the comments about my obvious condition I’m going to have to endure. Fortunately or not, at least the office staff knows since Josh encountered one of my advisers in the office earlier this week and in her characteristic overly dramatic style, she made an enormous deal out of him and my state.

For practice, I went out in real public today. To the old coffee shop I used to frequent in this blog’s earlier days. I didn’t walk up the hill by myself – Josh drove me and then turned around and walked the two blocks back by himself. I did, however, walk back. And was promptly EXHAUSTED. But I sat and sort of worked for about 3 hours. It’s been a rough day because I’ve had this lingering headache since I woke up. I’ve had many more than a daily allotment of water, so it’s not dehydration. Simple pregnancy, I guess. I did write 2 pages of my chapter though – not much but not nothing either.

At the coffee shop I was involuntarily privy to a long conversation about one woman’s decision to work in the for-profit world because the idealism of her youth had given way to her desire for a comfortable life. Neither I nor her companion seemed to judge her for that, but she went on and on so long about it that she may well have convinced herself and less-experienced voyeurs that she really believed she needed to justify her decision. Not me though. Because I have listened long enough and carefully enough to public speech to realize that she said not an original thing during that conversation. Without judging her sincerity or virtue or intelligence, I can tell you that she repeated a litany of phrases and arguments I have heard so many times – and for some reason especially at that particular coffee shop at that time of day. If you go a few hours earlier, it’ll be all business – real estate folks and salespeople planning and meeting about their day. A few hours later, mommies and babies. In the evening to late night, students working either silently out of their law books or science texts or having group project discussions. And what fascinates me most is the utter unoriginality of all of their speech. Our speech. I’m not exempt. You’d think I would be more able to tune out the banal than the extraordinary, but instead, the more routine the conversation the more I can’t break myself away from it. The monotonous patterns compel me to listen.

I’m not just rude. These conversations are louder, too, and I think that also contributes to making them harder to ignore. But I try. I sit and stare at my screen, silently thinking, “shut up, shut up, shut up.”

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3 responses to “Are you sitting down?

  1. I’ve been in the same situation often at coffee shops or restaurants. I can’t get over how unoriginal people are. But then I read others’ blogs and I think, “I can’t get over how unoriginal I AM! I’m sure I’ve been sitting next to someone who wanted me to shut up. I’m glad you posted though about coffee shops. Lately I’ve been so tired I can’t ever seem to get to one and relax. It seems like all I do is run in and out of Starbucks. I know this delightful one a few blocks away from work with worn out chairs, old lamps, a library, and relaxed patrons. I should go this week. Glad to hear the lil’ on is kicking around, anterior placenta and all.

  2. In some ways, I actually find our lack of originality reassuring. In particular, I like knowing that no matter what problem I may be having, someone else has had it before, which means that I can probably find advice.

  3. I am impressed that you ventured out for coffee. I have been sticking really close to home, but I am going out later with my friend. This will be one of the first times I have ventured out to eat in a restaurant. Yes, I know I am a virtual shut in! Hope we don’t get stuck listening to someone’s annoying conversation, like you did. I do get irritated, by what you have described.

    I have been having some headaches too and I think it’s from allergies (the worst this year than I have ever had). Maybe yours is from that? Or just part of the symptoms?

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