Starbuck’s and Bikes and my special Magnet

Posted by barb on Apr 28, 2003 in Biking |

It was beautiful weather this afternoon, so I decided to get on my bike with my PhD thesis proposal and stacks of AGN variability papers and head up to Starbuck’s. I know it’s a yuppie kind of place, but they have a very yummy frozen chai drink that I just can’t resist. Plus it’s the closest place that has outside seating (besides Famous Dave’s, but as a vegetarian, that just doesn’t work for me).

The ploy worked — I went through the first several pages of crap I’ve pieced together from other proposals and papers, and made it sound more coherent. This may not sound like much, but I’ve been trying to work on this proposal for three weeks now, without much success.

However, after I’d been working for about half an hour, a smiling young man (early 20s, I’d guess) dressed in black pants and a white button-down shirt came over to my table and struck up a conversation. I already knew that he was a Mormon (is that the same as Seventh Day Adventist?, which I think is what his shirt said), because I’d heard him and his friend talking with another man at a nearby table. I’ll admit that I wasn’t very polite at first (though I am from the midwest, so my idea of “not too polite” is still fairly polite by East Coast standards). I don’t want someone coming up to me, and witnessing to me cold. It’s different if I was an acquaintance who showed some interest in their religion, but to just come up to me on the street? Or knock on my door? No.

Anyway, we discussed my thesis a little, and his friend came over. They asked if I knew what they were, and I said yes, in fact I know a mormon at work. So they asked if I’d talked about their religion much with this friend at work, and I said no, since he knew that I just wasn’t interested. I must give them some credit at this point. They didn’t pursue that line any further. Instead they asked if they could sing me a song, and then be on their way. Why the hell not? So they sang “Children of God” to me, and they did a nice job of it, too.

Okay, so they weren’t too bad. The thing I hate most, though, is their fake smile. I know it’s fake. I know that they want me to think that they smile all the time because they are living in the love of God, but I know that it’s just an act. This friend I have at work also has that fake smile. I’ve seen him genuinely smile, and it blows the fake one away. These two young men who accosted me at Starbuck’s had the fake smile down. But I knew better.

But the thing I’m going to remember most from the encounter, is that the first young man had a spot of white in the corner of his mouth. I found it absolutely captivating. I know this is not what they want me to remember, but I can’t help it. I wonder if it was toothpaste that he just didn’t wipe off his face. Or maybe it was a bit of spit that had dried there. Maybe he was rabid…

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