A week or so ago, I went to Starbucks and scored the second best table, right next to a set of low lounge chairs. Those chairs are fine if you want to sit and read while sipping your beverage of choice, or for gabbing with friends, but definitely not for writing. I've done it before when all the tables were taken, but I avoid it.
Lookit that, a tangent already.
Anyway, when I get a table near the lounge type chairs, groups of people inevitably plop down there and start talking, often loudly. And I don't really mind, because it's a public place and if quiet was my primary need, I'd stay home and work in my very nice home office. It rarely bothers me; conversation is like a white noise, other than those who choose to TALK LIKE EVERYONE NEEDS TO HEAR, or when something catches my attention and I find myself eavesdropping.
On that day, a group of 3 12-13 year old boys sat down...and one of them hesitated, telling his friends as he nodded in my direction, "She's doing something. We should sit somewhere else."
I seriously appreciated his consideration (and told him they wouldn't bother me...and they didn't.)
Today I went over to get some work done while the Spouse Thingy awaited delivery on a refrigerator (--groan$$$groan--) and wound up at a lesser table across the store, right next to two 12-ish year old girls. They had phones in hand and were playing some game against each other, giggling, talking fast in the way only 12 year old girls can.
They were there first. No problem. After half an hour one of them wanted to show the other a video on her phone...and her friend declined. "We don't have earphones and people are working here."
No complaint from her friend.
Flip everything over.
Sunday I scored my favorite table. I can see the entire store from there, no one can sit behind me, and there's no glare from windows. I'd been working for about an hour when an older couple came in. He walked in a microshuffle, slightly hunched over. They ordered their coffee and walked very slowly to the long table and sat on the far end, where ideally I wouldn't hear a thing from them.
But the old guy wanted to add something to his coffee, so he removed the lid and headed for the condiment stand, step after tiny step. The coffee was full--and very hot--and he was unsteady, so the inevitable happened: it spilled over onto his hand.
I understood the "Ow!" I understood the first "Godammit!" But he totally lost me when he continued on, spilling and shouting expletives.
I might have gotten up and offered to help, but...old dude probably would have chucked the cup at me.
I looked at his wife; she stared out the window, either oblivious or trying hard to not react. The top to his cup was on the table in front of her, the top that if he had left it on would have prevented the spillage and burn, but perhaps not the loud swearing. He kept it up even after he sat down, not giving a damn that there were other people around him, not caring that he was literally startling people with every bark of his expletives.
Don't tell me kids today are horrible little shits who need a good paddling. By far, the kids I encounter there are more considerate and are quick to apologize if they think they've crossed a line. I see more supposed adults throwing temper tantrums than I do kids. And that's pretty freaking backwards; I have no expectations of young teens being all the quiet. It's almost embarrassing to witness grown men and women go bat crap crazy in public.
Those FB memes that circulate every week, telling people to like and share if they got spanked as a kid and think today's kids are snotty and need a good ass kicking? No, no, they do not, but the adults sharing that dreck just might.
Oh and a total aside: you can ask for your smaller drink in a larger cup at Starbucks, and reduce the risk of spilling. If you get a grande, ask for it in a venti cup. It won't be full, which is ideal, whether your issue is tremors or your gait causes your beverage to slosh, or if you have difficulty removing those lids. The more you know...