Tea Stories on a Warm Afternoon

September 20, 2012

There I was, sitting in a lonely table, sipping my tea as I continued my work.

There I was, sitting in a lonely table, sipping my tea as I continued my work. It was past 2:00 in the afternoon but I still had the taste of baked scallops from lunch. I was in the midst of finishing a task for a client when a couple of people went inside the shop. They took a seat at one table away from mine.

As I unconsciously looked towards their direction, I caught one of them staring at my monitor. Sure, this could not have been a big deal, but I am terribly conscious about people looking at my work when it's not finished and I swear I quickly pressed command + tab as a reaction. It must have sent the wrong idea because the guy was now looking straight at me in a weird way.

Anyway, I shifted my glance back at my monitor, trying to ignore the awkwardness of that brief moment. Things picked up immediately and I was back in my unspeakable trance.

A few minutes later, another group arrived. There were five of them, 2 men in semi-formal attire, one younger guy, and an older lady. They were looking around for seats in the tiny shop but the only available ones were both table on my left and right. I should have moved to the other table so they could use my table but I didn't budge. I was feeling a bit lazy, moving things around. I think they looked at me for a minute trying to give a hint but eventually they ended up using one tiny table on my right.

I swear I wasn't intentionally eavesdropping but they started discussing about doing business with the other guy. At first they were speaking in English, but as the conversation progressed, they ended up speaking in our Cebuano dialect. I found it quite interesting that their conversation shifted from the "salesperson" trying to promote himself. Then to the other guy who was an owner of some company trying to impress the "seller". I was now wondering how the heck this happened. But their conversation was brief and they went out the shop after they closed the deal.

Everyone else had left and I was back to being alone when suddenly, a couple arrived in the shop. They took a seat at the table just a foot closer to mine. It looked like they were not in speaking terms because the girl was just looking down on the table and the guy was trying too hard to talk to her. Suddenly, a tsunami of awkwardness quickly swept in the room and drowned me. It was so awkward that I slowly shifted from my usual squatting position to normal sitting while trying hard to mind my own business again. Of all the seats they could have chosen, they chose the one that's really close to mine. I know I'm not supposed to mind these things but who couldn't notice the drama when it's just next to you?

After they got their orders, they left the shop. I was relieved and went back to my relaxing squat position.

It's interesting to think that on a regular weekday afternoon, there are snippets of stories happening in an ordinary tea shop. This inspired me to write and learn more about other people. It's time to quit being a hermit again. I'd forgotten how fascinating humans are.

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