I’ve learned to tune out almost everything when I’m in the scarce writing zone. It doesn’t matter if it’s laughing, yelling, or screaming kids if I’m dialed in they’re all white noise in an all white house. But… with time and experience I’ve learned, there are a few things that can render me as helpless to write as Superman is to save the world with a bucket of kryptonite parked on his chest.
I barely noticed the elderly couple that got seated two tables down from where I was seated for breakfast. My pen was recording my thoughts out its tip while waiting for my six egg white omelette.
Then I heard it. My head lifted along with my pen trying to solve the puzzle of what was having the same effect on me as nails on a chalkboard. Bingo. It was the freshly seated gentleman with the black dress slacks, white Oxford type of dress shirt that was tucked in neatly around his generous torso. His black glasses matched his black hair with natural grey distinguishing streaks.
The man’s wife was talking, but he wasn’t paying much attention. As she chatted comfortably he made the most annoying subtle sound with his mouth drowning her out, mostly. With his lower lip pushed out slightly he made a sound that wasn’t quite a whistle, more like a whispering ‘S’ type of sound, “Sss-sss-sss-sss-sss-sss-sss,” and non-stop.
My eye began to twitch in annoyance as I watched him make noise while his wife talked. By the time they got their food my muse had long since jumped ship.
The quiet waiting room at my always tardy skin doctor’s office the next day seemed like the perfect setting to summons my fast and fickle muse. With thoughts and ink flowing again the nurse barking names had no effect on me.
That’s when the elderly couple sat just across and down one chair from me. She talked softly to the grim sun-scarred man as he snatched up a magazine to kill time. The man glimpsed the open pages for a few short seconds before reaching for the bottom corner of the page then snapping it like a towel, almost ripping it from the magazine. He’d repeat the angry page turning every four or five seconds in rhythm.
I try to ponder things, to figure out in circumstances like that why my buttons seem so easy to push. Folks who never consider anybody but themselves and lack basic manners is one reason.
The other is the habit that I too might be a little guilty of… My only saving grace is that I’m not nearly as blatant as Whistler’s Brother and the Page Punisher.
After decades with a spouse, we tend to take them for granted and don’t always show them the love and respect they deserve.
There are lessons and reminders from God all around us every day. Sometimes it’s just in everyday interruptions and annoyances…
You know. Like the ones we ignore in ourselves.