by L. Stewart Marsden
Starbucks in Hickory. Waiting for a person to show up for an interview for my weekly column. She has my email address and cell number. She’s 17 minutes late.
The patio in front of Starbucks has a few tables crowded by wicker and steel chairs. The table tops are thin wood slats that are weathered gray. All of the tables are round and adequate for two persons, with the exception of the table where I have spread out all of my interviewing tools (a yellow legal pad, some pens, and a Sony cassette voice recorder). My table is square. Two large umbrellas protect the space from really nothing, as the sky is somewhat overcast.
Two other tables are occupied. The patrons are women, three at one table and two at the other.
The threesome are young to thirty-something. White. They are costumed in designer walking/running outfits and wear hardly worn athletic shoes that match their outfits.
Each sips on a tall disposable cup of coffee, or mocha latte, frappes or whatever. Two have expensive sunglasses perched back at the fronts of their heads. The other has a navy kerchief tied at the front of her hair — like a scullery maid. They all smoke cigarettes.
The duo is an older pair, dressed in upscale casual. All the women seem confident, and on their game.
Conversation from both tables is drowned out by heavy traffic passing a few feet away on one of the main thoroughfares.
My interviewee has yet to show/call/email. I’ve been stood up. The person who recommended her warned me yesterday, “I heard she might have had a change of mind about being interviewed.”
“She has my contact information. I’m sure she’ll contact me if that’s true,” I replied like the confident professional I am.
She didn’t. Call or email. It’s time to cut my losses and pack up and get ready for my 1 pm interview at Hamm’s Restaurant.
I’m not going to worry whether or not the next interviewee will show. Honest.