‘Don’t you think it’s exceptional?’ Pete was sat at an almost full coffee bar when he asked this question. And when I say asked, I mean he more like yelled it for the whole of the coffee house to hear, and it was certainly loud enough to prevent the young man on his right from hearing what his business associate was saying on the other end of the phone.
No one answered Pete, so he yelled it again. This time with an even bigger grin on his face, in his attempt at creating a friendly exterior, despite his loud tone. ‘I SAID, DON’T YOU THINK IT’S EXCEPTIONAL?’
The customers probably thought he was high, or drunk from the night before. And again, no one answered. Maybe it was because he didn’t have the cleanest shirt on, and his hair was kind of muffled from when he removed his beanie hat just before he entered the building. Maybe he wasn’t being bold enough, people these days tended to be so engrossed in their mobile phones, they’d rather walk into a lampost than look up. Or maybe his volume was simply no match for the endless whirs created by the coffee machine, the blending of crushed ice, the constant line of voices ordering an array of different types of coffee, most from rushing commuters. Pete’s question was perhaps not a strong contender for the cacophony of his coffee-infused surroundings.
When he was almost out of hope of receiving a response, a girl, who appeared to be no more than ten years old, approached Pete. She asked if she could try on his beanie hat, and Pete obliged. She then opened her mustard coloured drawstring bag, and pulled out a collection of items; an mp3 player and earphones, a pair of earmuffs and a pair of woolen mittens. Pete perplexedly stared at the girl, baffled as to why she had come across to him. She put the earphones in, pressed play and ensured the mp3 player was at a sufficient volume.Next she put on her ear muffs and woolen mittens, and then began to look at Pete expectantly. ‘Hi, can I help you?’ Pete was obtaining a much more soft and quieter tone of voice now. Did she hear him? Pete remembered she had her earphones in, so probably not. He began to look around awkwardly, where where her parents anyway? Then suddenly she stepped on a bar stool as to match Pete in height, being less than five foot tall herself, and placed her hands over her ears. They were now staring right at each other.
Frozen in a state of confusion, Pete didn’t say anything nor did he attempt to move. The girl then said,’I want to hear your question, kind sir.’ So Pete once again said it, although half-heartedly as she surely couldn’t hear him anyway under her music, his beanie hat and her earmuffs.
‘Do you want to know what I think is exceptional? That even though I have music playing in my ears at what is probably an unhealthy amount of decibels, and ear muffs on, that I still heard exactly what you just said? No one in here was listening to you, nor were they going to acknowledge you either because these people are not in this moment, they’re ahead. They’re too busy worrying about getting to work on time, worrying about taking an ‘Instagram worthy’ photo of their coffee, worrying about what they’re going to cook their kids for tea. Thinking ahead,don’t you see kind sir? It’s always ahead’
And in that moment the girl vanished.
Pete walked out of the coffee house and hoped that his pursuit of finding communication would be fulfilled elsewhere.
This post was inspired by the Daily Prompt: Exceptional