Coffee House Brawls & Writer Revelations

For the third time, I saw the same woman park in the parking space for the handicapped at my usual Starbucks. About 30, she had no visible physical ailments and no designation on her car.

The first time I told her she needed to move her car, she responded by saying she didn’t. I continued to argue and pointed to the white outline she drove over. Finally, she said there was nowhere else to park. I told her she was ridiculous, especially since I got a space 50 feet from the door. The second time I saw her leaving, I watched, unable to catch her in time to say anything.

In the meantime, I told all of the Starbucks employees, who know me on a first-name basis, that if they were to see a police officer they needed to ask them to come by between 9:15 and 9:45 a.m. and put an end to her spoiled behavior.

The third time, I had her. She walked in, my eyes cut to the window, and low and behold, she parked there again! I went out to her car, phone in hand, and took a picture with the sign visible.

My feet and anger carried me back to talk to her. I demanded she move her car. It didn’t go well. Go figure. I raised my voice, frustrated with her spoiled, petulant, and inconsiderate woes. The eyes of half the patrons watched. The employees knew what I was up to, but kept their heads down. One finally said, “Bria, are you parking in that space?”

She finally stomped out. I was euphoric; I looked around expecting someone to give me an “Atta gal!”

To my surprise, there were no “Good jobs,” pats on the back, or thanks from anyone. I felt joy in taking a stand, but no one met my eyes. No cheers came. No one shared in my crazed madness of watching her leave.

Writing is like this. There will be no one clapping as a chapter is revised for the tenth time. Your critique partners encourage and show flaws but they can’t stand at your side and give you fist bumps. Writers get no audience or “Good job!” from onlookers. You need to get over it.

We’re told all these rules – you can’t use this adverb, you’re telling not showing. We go around and around and around taking advice, and often handicapping our process trying to make our work its best and shine like a Venti Iced Latte, so someone will notice and cheer. I’ve just gotten over this (at least 85 percent; don’t ask how I came up with that number).

Loving what I’ve written, what I’ve done, is enough, and the ovation is knowing I done my best.

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