I stopped for coffee this morning on my way to the subway. I stood at the counter behind a couple of satisfyingly tall men (I like tall men), and in front of a woman in a beautiful but not warm-looking leather coat. I was sleepy and distracted and thinking ahead to the workshop I was heading for.
“Are you meditating?” This from leather coat woman.
“I’m sorry, what?”
“I just wondered. Your breathing is so silent.”
The men in front of me turned to check out this bizarreness. The woman looked at them and nodded at me. “I’ve never heard anyone who breathed so quietly,” she said, as if this would make this scene not strange.
The men looked at me, a little expectantly. I wasn’t sure what, exactly I should have done in that moment. I was just breathing. It wouldn’t make sense for me to attempt breathing on command or breathing at them to demonstrate my freakishly quiet breathing. I shrugged.
“I wasn’t meditating,” I said to the woman. “Just waiting for coffee.”
“Your breathing is pretty quiet,” from one of the men.
I shrugged again. The men were called to place their order and turned away.
So this was a weird conversation, sure, but I’d be lying if I said the subject has never come up before. Two exes have remarked on my silent breathing. One even had the
funny, charming, ridiculously-narcissistic idea that I was so wowed by him that I always held my breath when he embraced me. (Is that even a thing?)
How loudly would I need to breathe to seem normal? Is there any reason to comment on the decibel level of a stranger’s breathing? Can I really be the only person who breathes so quietly? Do I breathe particularly quietly, or are my exes and that woman just really odd? (Or both?)
I love talking to strangers on the street, and have posted plenty of stories about excellent encounters when I’m out and about. Today’s was just weird. Tonight, however, I’m grateful for that moment. I’ve been trying to write the post I wanted to put up tonight, and I keep falling asleep on my computer. But this little bit of randomness is quick and easy enough for me to dash off a) before midnight and b) before sleep takes me for the night!
It’s Slice of Life Story Challenge time! Head over to Two Writing Teachers to see what the rest of the slicers are up to … and to post the link to your own slice!