1) I walked into Starbucks this morning, and the woman at the front of the line was pacing back and forth. "You seriously don't have the chai tea bags?" she asked. The barista shook her head. "This is," the woman continued, over-enunciating, "the worst Starbucks in the world." The barista's expression remained blank. The woman reiterated, ". . . the world!," and then walked out.
When I got up to the counter, the barista turned to her co-worker. "Did you hear that?" she asked him, monotone. "We're the worst Starbucks in the world."
2) A few hours later, I entered the elevator in my building with a woman, wearing a dark coat and an involved scarf, who looked as though she had just returned from an Appalachian trek. I pressed the button for my floor, which was two floors below hers. "I love when someone's on a lower floor that me," she said (it took me a half-second to realize she was talking to me), "It's, like, maybe I hear you being loud! You know?" I smiled so broadly—like that watermelon-slice smile emoji—and nodded my head violently. We didn't speak for the rest of the ride.
3) My iPhone, which I had had for at least two years, lost its life on the eve of Thanksgiving (another blog post for another time). I got a new iPhone, on the afternoon of Thanksgiving, but—since I had, I learned, never backed up my data properly—I lost all the photographs I had taken (more than 2,000) on that phone. When I told my family, as we gorged on shrimp before our Thanksgiving meal, that I had lost all of these photographs, my father looked at me incredulously. "You don't seem upset at all," he said. "This is so unlike you." He was right. I would have guessed that I'd feel like a man dropped out of a helicopter into the middle of the Pacific Ocean; instead, to my surprise, I felt like you do after you've just checked a large suitcase before a long flight: weightless and unencumbered. I ate so many shrimp that I wasn't hungry for the actual meal.