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Coffee or do not coffee–there is no try

February 14, 2013

A few days ago LOD and I were at one of our sort-of-bi-weekly coffees. It was our first coffee since turning in all of the essays and forms to apply to the middle schools we’re applying to, so we were both feeling kind of expansive, and LOD even ordered a flavored foofy coffee. We took two of the armchairs by the fake fireplace in the coffee shop and began the Airing of the Grievances.

One of the nice things about being divorced now for as long as we have been is that we can be very selective about the interactions we choose to have with each other. We just don’t have interactions that don’t have a reasonable chance of being successful. So the Airing of the Grievances is us against common enemies–construction, the Ann Arbor Water Utility’s impossible online “payment” system, how the intersection of foods our children will both eat is enshrinkening, the Michigan GOP, kids these days and their leggings and Uggs, etc.–and not us against each other.

We’d moved past our list of common enemies and were talking hard-core schedule stuff, when suddenly a lady in her 50s asked me if it was my bag in the chair net to me. I said yes, and moved it, and she sat down.

Right in the comfy chair making up the third seat in a cozy triad there by the fake fireplace.

There were six tables free, but she sat right next to us. LOD and I gave each other a “WTF??” look, and I briefly thought of pumping up the Divorced Parent Drama level to make her uncomfortable, but then I couldn’t even muster a topic to pretend to be mad about. It’s February–what’s going on bedside figuring out who needs to go buy the Yoda valentines from Walgreens and figuring out who’s where during the Presidents’ Day school break? There are plenty more contentious times of year. If we’d known in advance, we could have manufactured a fight. Instead she just got an earful of my plans to take our younger one to the Wade Center at Wheaton College to see the wardrobe that inspired C.S. Lewis to write the Narnia books.

I did notice that she kept glancing up over the top of her Nora Roberts book to look at us.

Denouement of the Valentine’s Day lottery: I had them the night before Valentine’s Day, so in theory I should have bought the Yoda valentines, but I asked both boys what they wanted to hand out, and both boys are boycotting valentines this year! Who wins? Everyone!

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! Tomorrow is half-price candy day.

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15 Comments leave one →
  1. Natalie permalink
    February 14, 2013 11:13 am

    The lady wanted a comfy chair by the fire too. I don’t see the issue with that, you guys could choose a table if you wanted more privacy for a meeting, and it doesn’t sound like it was private stuff anyway, just two friends chatting about life’s various hassles.

  2. Jenn (dish) permalink
    February 14, 2013 11:43 am

    I actually disagree with Natalie. If there are two people having a conversation in a small triad seating arrangement, taking that third seat when there are plenty of others is not cool. It would be different if it was clear that Moxie and LOD were just two random people who happened to be sitting in two of the three chairs. But, then again, I am also really sensitive to personal space.

    My money is on the fact that she knows this blog and is now tickled by the fact that she made it into a post. Hi stalker lady!!! :)

    • askmoxie permalink*
      February 14, 2013 12:06 pm

      I wonder if we’re going to get a Midwesterners vs. non-Midwesterners split on this one. The woman sitting down two inches from me and not even pulling her chair away felt like such a personal space violation here in the Midwest. I’m not sure it would have seemed so strange in New York.

      • famousamy permalink
        February 15, 2013 4:43 pm

        Yes. My husband is from London and we live in Ohio where I grew up. He gets WAY too close to people for their comfort (and mine!) Of course he wouldn’t have glanced at you one bit. He’s definitely in his own world even when inches away from others.

  3. Julia permalink
    February 14, 2013 1:02 pm

    It would have felt like a personal space invasion to me, but that’s part of why I moved out of NYC.

    • February 14, 2013 6:24 pm

      So very much of me wanted to launch a new middle of a conversation, like “… so I think I got most of the blood out of my trunk, but digging that hole in this cold was a BITCH.”

  4. February 14, 2013 2:05 pm

    Curious…why did the kids decide to boycot valentines?

    • askmoxie permalink*
      February 14, 2013 2:29 pm

      Because girls are yucky, I think. The little one seems to be moving into that phase, and the big one hasn’t quite left it yet. This is the Golden Time.

  5. February 14, 2013 2:23 pm

    Sounds like poor comfy chair positioning by the Starbucks, actually. Three is a crowd. But I’d have been the lady taking the third comfy chair. Then I’d have been so engrossed in whatever I was reading within seconds that I wouldn’t even have registered what you were talking about.

  6. Beth permalink
    February 14, 2013 3:39 pm

    Per the Wardrobe, if you have not been, be prepared that it is a small museum that houses this wonderful piece of furniture. Wheaton’s campus is pretty small so the museum is too. Just fair warning.

    • askmoxie permalink*
      February 14, 2013 3:41 pm

      I’ve been before (with the older one a few years ago) and am all ready to raid their tiny poster collection for the nerdastic posters!

  7. February 14, 2013 6:00 pm

    I had one of those good interactions with the wriggler’s dad on wednesday. The wriggler has just started preschool, so we were both at the parent info evening. We didn’t sit together, more by accident than design.
    Afterwards, talking to the mum who will be class rep, we had to explain no, same child, different families. We had to explain twice (I wondered for a second if we needed a diagram).
    People are immediately confused if you are amicable and separated.
    She then used the term ‘broken home’, which makes me bristle – my response was ‘it would be a lot more broken if we still lived together’ and she backed down pretty quick.

  8. Shelly permalink
    February 14, 2013 6:29 pm

    My 10-year old daughter boycotted the valentines this year too! I could hardly contain my glee!

  9. Amy permalink
    February 23, 2013 3:15 pm

    Fortunately my kids are pretty flexible- I buy whatever Valentines Target has to offer when I’m on some other errand. That’s about the extent of my involvement these days. My first grade son was very sweet about choosing cards he thought his girl classmates would like. We’ll see how long this lasts!

  10. Amy permalink
    February 23, 2013 3:19 pm

    Oh- and as a midwesterner living in a crowded east coast city, I might have sat down, but would probably have moved the chair at least slightly and aligned my body away from your conversation. Earphones never hurt either.

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