I had just walked in and sat down at a table when I noticed him. He was an older man, skin wrinkled, hair white, and he reminded me of my grandfather. As he walked through the glass door, I smiled at him. He nodded.
I had just taken my laptop out of my bag and set it up when he walked by my table again. Again he caught my eye. I smiled. He nodded.
A few minutes later I switched tables. I had inadvertently sat beneath the air conditioning and moved somewhere that seemed like it would be warmer. As I resettled in the new location, the older man approached me.
“Have you teleported? I seem to recall that you were over there not long ago,” he said.
The rolling r’s of his accent were familiar and made me think about the feeling of roller skating over speed bumps: a gentle rise and fall over a rounded hump.
For 45 minutes he talked to me. He was shiny, positive, glowing. He was proud of his family, his beautiful daughters. He valued education above all else and spoke with pride of how much education his daughters had, which schools his sons-in-law had attended.
He talked about history and politics, wars and world travels. He talked for 45 minutes without saying one single negative thing about the world, about America, about ANYTHING.
Finally, I had to say, “Thank you for talking to me. I’ve enjoyed our conversation, but I really need to get back to work.” Jovially he withdrew.
“I hope I have not offended you,” he said.
“Not in the least,” I replied. “It’s simply that I need to get some work done.”
“Very well, perhaps I will see you in here again then!” His smile was broad, his eyes bright.
“If you do, please come say hello.” I smiled, too.