I’m a fan of banter.
It drives people crazy, I’m sure, but I like chatting people up. I like knowing whether the clerk at CVS has had any annoying customers today. I like learning what sort of strange stuff the maid has found in a room. I like talking to break the ice, talking to engage, talking just to talk. When I was a kid my mom used to say, “If you have nothing worth saying, don’t say it.” I have always disagreed. There’s power to a friendly word. Really, there is.
I digress. Moment ago I was standing in line here at the neighborhood Starbucks. I looked toward the corner of the store, and the table I usually claim (only one of two here situated near an outlet) was taken by a couple. Behind me in line was a police officer. I turned to him and said, “I come here to write all the time. Those guys are in my favorite table. Think you can arrest them?”
Admittedly, not especially funny. But, certainly, light.
The cop looks at me as if I’ve just taken a steaming dump in his holster. I mean, picture the most disgusted expression you can imagine. “Why would I do that?” he said/snarled.
I was stunned.
“I’m joking,” I said. “See, I usually sit there, and … it’s a joke.”
Same look—steaming dump. I turned away, got my drink and sat down.
We all have those moments from time to time.
I always hate them.