Got into my running gear this morning with a plan. Walked my kid to school and ran into the moms in the schoolyard. I’ve always had this secret feeling there’s a mom gang that I’m not part of, and while they are always friendly when I walk up, I suspect they have mom-gang plans they wait until I've left to execute.
I have stuff to do, writing to do. I’m not looking for a mom-gang, but I’ve suffered my whole life from what one of Nora Young’s Spark guests once called FOMO syndrome – Fear Of Missing Out. So the what I’m missing out on takes a back seat to the fact of missing out itself.
This morning as I stood chatting, before heading off to run, one of the moms waved a five dollar bill in my face, three five dollar bills in fact. “Wanna come for coffee with us before you run? “ she asked. “We’re going to Sam’s on Harbord St.” Sam’s is a very cool coffee place. In the colder weather the windows are always foggy with cappuccino steam and what I assume to be heated, world-altering, arty conversation.
So I weigh my options for about 2 seconds, knowing it’s an either/or proposition. There will be no run after coffee but it’s a trade off I’m willing to make.
Swallowing the fact I’m wearing a $2 garage-sale nylon jacket and stretchy pants that - apologies to Lulu Lemon lovers who consider spandex fashion - I’m more than slightly embarrassed to be seen in, I accept the invite.
Sam’s has beautiful muffins, the ones that come wrapped in earth-tone, hand-folded paper, that sticks up over the muffin top, and evokes country kitchens and small carbon foot steps, despite the fact it’s way more paper than the little corrugated cups that used to embrace all muffins and cupcakes.
The cute, young dudes serving coffee have that chill, indie patience about them as they wait for us to decide on the type of coffee and cup. I pick disposable for my decaf latte. My new gang members chose ceramic. I’m under the illusion that after a few quick sips I will rush home to write – something I’ve barely done over the last few days and am feeling anxious and guilty about.
Of course I don’t run off, so can add to my guilt the empty piece of (thankfully not styrofoam) garbage I’m holding in my hand.
My new gang members are smart, interesting and fun. I even make a running date with one of them. As I’m chatting, my words getting faster and faster, pinging around and flying off in all directions, I realize that what comes with adorable, young, indie patience is the laissez faire, didn’t-actually-listen-when-she-said-decaf problem.
I go back to the counter, to the front of the now really long line up of coolish people, none of whom work in the 9-5 world, to ask the dark,curly-haired dude if it’s possible he got it wrong and gave me caffeine. He gives me a big smile and says ya, he thinks he messed up a few, and I tell him my day will take a completely different direction than I had planned.
I’m skipping and talking really, really fast as I walk my gang part-way home then take off in a sprint as they stand at the corner laughing at me.
Caffeinated to my core, I run into the house and up the stairs to my desk wondering what I might produce in this state. Perhaps I should go through bills and school notes and flyers from 2004 and take advantage of the coffee rush to discard some of the detritus of the last decade.
Then the phone rings.
Although my toe is still tapping, my knee shaking, and my thoughts pinging, I’m proud of myself for NOT biting off the head of the Globe and Mail telemarketer who just called me Mrs. The day may not be a total write off after all.