A woman alone, soon is not

(To start off the new year, I’m re-posting a blog entry from July 26th, which I consider one of my top ones from 2013. I’ll resume with new posts next week.)

When there are only two people in a room, one a man, one a woman, and I’m the man, it’s natural for me to want her attention. This was the situation when I went to a coffee shop this morning.

coffee waiting2

After doing a seven-miler early to avoid the heat, I walked to a coffee place near my house at the corner of Wall and Nebraska. The morning rush was over and the woman in front of me, electing not to purchase the caramel cinnamon roll because it’d be too much, was the only other customer in the shop.

coffee shop bakeryAfter she took a chair in the seating area, I ordered my usual 12-ounce mocha and for the first time ever, a caramel cinnamon roll.

I sat a couple tables away, noticing she had a top with stylized lettering on her sleeve that read AFS. I offered an apology for interrupting her reading of The Inlander and asked if AFS stood for Awesomely Fast Sprinter.

She said it was natural for me to think of a running-related term after I mentioned I was a runner, but AFS stood for the company she owned, Animal Fulfillment Specialists.

After a few minutes of chat, I told her the caramel cinnamon roll she thought about getting was beyond delicious and offered to share. Her shy smile told me it was okay to move to her table.

coffee waitingShe had flown in from the East Coast a couple days earlier. Her company provides unique experiences for people using both ordinary and unusual animals. She was in Spokane arranging a wagon pulled by a horse, an ox, a camel, and an alpaca for a 16-year-old’s birthday party.

coffee sharingWhen I remarked on the diversity of the wagon-pulling team, she said that was only the start. Riding in the wagon with the birthday celebrants were guinea hens, Peruvian ferrets, ocelot kittens, and long-haired fedoras.

When I questioned her apparent mistake, she said in the southern Brazilian state of San Rio Escalana, natives know that long-haired fedoras are not hat wear.

Though she mentioned her husband was arriving later in the day to assist with the birthday wagon, as I departed, I asked if she was willing to go on a drive together in the country sometime and identify animals for me.

She shook my hand and broke into a smile. “I have lots of experience with that. I’m a great animal identifier.”

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