On the power line, something like a mockingbird--only silent-- and something like a blackbird-- long beaked, iridescent in the evening sun. The blackbird said "yech!" 6 times in a row, then smacked its wings down 5 times, (it was as loud as its voice) then took two steps along the line, towards the mockingbird, who pretended not to notice. The blackbird moved about 10 feet, in this way, repeating the same sequence--the verbal insult, the physical shudder of wings, the advancing steps) until it was right next to the mockingbird. The m'bird couldn't stand the strain anymore--it flew away with one sad cry.
And here's the weird part - as though the first part wasn't weird, which it was. Once the m'bird flew off, so did the blackbird. S/he wasn't interested in hogging that wire at all. Just didn't want that other bird on it.
30 minutes earlier, in Clever Cup, a woman's knitting group had convened. A man came in, maybe 50-ish, seemingly healthy, and, pausing inside the door, asked someone if it was ok for him to be there. She explained it was just a knitting group but that the coffeehouse was still open to everyone and of course he was welcome. He got as far as the counter before his nerve failed him--he dashed to the exit without ordering.
There were 17 women in the coffeehouse (including the 2 baristas). I wonder--what number of women would have been ok for him to get his espresso? How few would there have been for him to actually sit down and drink it? At what point did he feel outnumbered and afraid? Afraid of what?