I had lunch the other day at a restaurant down the street from my work. It's one of those places that has couches instead of standard chairs, making it look a little silly, but also cozy.
So I'm sitting there by myself, which I usually do on my breaks, and I notice the people next to me. It's a young woman, early 20's, and an older man, say mid 50s. The younger woman is dressed nice, but casual. Long dress and a light blue sweater. The man is dressed like a professor. Khaki pants, a corduroy suit jacket, and he has speckled white hair. There's even a leather messenger bag to his side with a pair of fancy spectacles resting on it. He's spot on.
So I'm eating my sandwich and eavesdropping. They're talking about health care, a topic the young woman is very passionate about. She speaks loud and confident. Direct. She speaks like she's speaking for more than just herself, but for her entire generation. She lists dates, and policies, and people, most of which go over my head, and she even bangs her hand on the table a few times, because she wants change now! She wants to be the one to give the change! She has ideas, more ideas and passion than I'm used to hearing, especially from anyone my age, and I'm honestly getting excited listening to her, while at the same time trying to remain inconspicuous eating my sandwich.
The young woman talks and talks, goes on and on, and the professor just sits there, listening and nodding his head. She'd been starving for this, and he saved her, allowing her to finally express something she truly believed in when no one else would. She then smiles, catching her breath, silently thanking him for being there, and more importantly treating her like an equal. That's when the professor reaches under the table and grabs her knee.
He says, "You're adorable, you know that." Then he laughs and takes out his wallet, because I guess he assumed he would pay.
After that the young woman was silent, and I felt very bad for her.