Once again I’m distracted in a yoga class, but this time it’s not over a rogue wardrobe malfunction, rather a random out of the blue desperate need for a waffle! My yoga studio is on Ottawa street in Hamilton where people come from far and wide to fabric shop, do some antiquing and indulge in the many unique nibbles offered. Just a hop skip and a jump up the road from my yoga haven is, The Canon, who in my humble opinion, serves the best waffles in the city.
Since it was Valentine’s day, I had no choice but to give into my sudden desperate craving. My mouth watered for a perfect golden waffle dusted in icing sugar I could accost with real Canadian maple syrup; the right maple syrup of course, being the key to taking the status of a waffle from great to epic… am I right Doris?
I bolted off my mat the moment the Yoga teacher said ‘namaste’ and scooted down the street to the quaint bistro to discover I wasn’t the only one with a hankering for a waffle that day. It took some patience, but I eventually secured a table that placed me between two women who were excitedly exchanging gossip and a pair of teenagers who had actually held my attention from the moment I’d arrived. I didn’t even hide the fact I was staring, I was too preoccupied with trying to figure them out.
They sat opposite each other and between them was a waffle thoughtfully and romantically designed with whip-cream, strawberries, and chocolate sauce. Strangely, there were only a few bites taken from this Valentine delicacy. The couple were seated there the entire 15 minutes I waited for a seat with no progress being made on the eating of that perfectly crafted piece of mouth-watering art. Why you ask? Because they both had their heads down and were completely engrossed in their cell phones. Not once did I see them look at each other or engage in conversation. The girl eventually did take a few pictures of the waffle which was followed by a couple of quick bites and all the while gripping her phone like her life depended on it. For a fleeting second I thought she would attempt to join the real world as she awkwardly looked up at the hairline of her preoccupied date. But unlike the groundhog this year, she was quickly pulled back into the hole of cyberspace, no doubt eager to plaster the food pictures all over multiple social media platforms giving the impression she was being romanced and having the time of her life.
I continued to observe in disbelief and then finally while I was inhaling my own simple yet immaculate waffle, the dude looked up and said, “I have 10 minutes to get back” and with that they left. That was it. I had shared the space with them for about 25 minutes in total, and if I had to pick them out from a criminal line up I would’ve had to ask them to look down, because all I could identify them by were the random freckles they each had on their foreheads.
Outside of the obvious questions which included, “why bother even going out at all”, and being deeply saddened by the state of the world as we know it, a small part of me wanted to jump in and ask, “hey, if you aren’t going to eat that…”
That waffle was the most alive exciting thing that was happening at that table and it deserved to be enjoyed. Needless to say I refrained, but was still left awestruck at how these two were just going through the motions of life, ignoring the possibilities right in front of them and not relishing the time they had stolen out of their day to give each other.
It made me want to take full advantage of this unexpected outing, to soak in the energy of the hustle and bustle around me, observe the buildings the sun was decorating outside the window and taking my time to enjoy people watching people who were actually engaging with each other.
Instead of focusing on how disheartening it was to watch the erosion of communication and the predictions of the movie WALL-E come to life, I looked at it as a reminder to:
always value my time.
be present and engaged when spending time with others.
treat my ideas and curiosities with a more focused attention than they were giving that desperate little waffle.
I smiled gleefully to myself because I may have been there alone, but I was on a much better date then they were.