I am on fire today. As I was preparing my entry into a coffee shop, and holding the door for a slow-moving convoy of moms and strollers, one of the mothers (I know she was a mom, and not a nanny, because she was white) asked me how the rain was. Surprise small talk – my greatest weakness. However, I rallied myself and replied, “Well, that depends on how you feel about rain.” We both laughed and laughed and laughed and embraced and our eyes held each other, hers regarding an old soul and mine cradling a student with so much to learn, and our twin brains nodding in unison, agreeing that I had conjured up the greatest of all possible responses to her banal, weather-related inquiry. If I had a lariat and syphillis you would have sworn I was Will G-Damn Rogers.

Moments later, I was waiting in line for a latte with a shot of vanilla (wink!), and one of the coffee shop’s resident mothers ahead of me in line perched her baby-man upon the counter where he would enjoy a more fortuitous view of the glassed-in walls of Muffin Town. The mother pointed to several different residents of Muffin Town, and chose the muffin that elicited the loudest coo from her baby-man. (I should explain. I’m only calling him a baby-man because he was a baby dressed like an architect. I find this strange, and I guess Baby Gap started this trend in dressing babies like gainfully employed men and women, when everyone knows babies should be dressed crazy, in frog outfits and superman capes and gum wrappers, simply because they are too young to assume the responsibilities of, say, a Gap night manager.)

Next, the mother paid for said muffin and the coffee shop employee (dressed exactly like this woman’s baby-man!) placed said muffin on a ceramic muffin resting-plate. Then the mother, clearly mistaking her own perched baby-man for a real man with fully developed motor skills (Nice one, Baby Gap!), decided to let the baby-man hold the muffin resting-plate upon which a blueberry muffin was precariously (from the perspective of a baby) balanced. Naturally, as soon as the mom scooped up her baby-man, he tipped his muffin resting-plate and the muffin tipped away. That’s when I, with senses sharpened from my previous witty rejoinder* (*see Paragraph one of Tremble’s True Tales of Spectacular Small Talk, Issue #137), snapped a hand out and caught the muffin on a single bounce, from the plate to the counter, just before it was about to embark on a second bounce, ON THE FILTHY, RAT FECES-COATED COFFEE SHOP FLOOR. I don’t even remember my arm darting out, it happened so fast. Then I placed the muffin back on its resting-plate, and received an indifferent “thanks” from the mother and a “good show, dear chap,” from the baby-man.

I was electrified by this moment, and the coffee shop employee informed me that what he just witnessed was akin to “The Immaculate Reception.” I couldn’t have agreed more, honestly. In fact, I was glad someone saw it all happen, and appreciated for what it was: The Single Greatest Moment Of My Entire Life.

[Post-Script: I pushed it. Feeling a bit self-important after my conversation-action combo, I instigated small talk with a couple of strangers sitting next to me at the coffee shop. The circumstances were such: a small child on the other side of the lounge had found something hard and wooden and discovered, if one were to take this hard and wooden thing and smash it with all his might against a larger hard and wooden thing, it would make a very loud sound. And then, if those two hard and wooden objects were smashed against each other repeatedly, with no discernible rhythm, it would be Awesome™. So, the people sitting to my left, who up until this point were exchanging phrases such as “we want to know ourselves” and “it’s part of the whole internal energetic patterns of zzzzzz,” became very annoyed by the baby and his racket, and made many baby-hating jokes about why people should never breed. All of these jokes made them laugh very loudly. Thinking I could do no wrong here, I turned to them and said, “Don’t be so hard on the baby. He’s building book shelves.” They both looked at me for a moment, and their blinks of indifference were almost audible. Then they went back to talking about “the winds of shiva” and why everyone should see that movie, What the BLEEP Do We Know and zzzzzzz.]

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