At the Coffeehouse

by Jeff Oaks

One of two strangers sitting near me, a man I thought was in fact talking too loudly, obnoxiously loud even, so loud I was tuning out whatever subject he was holding forth on (and, here, I admit middle-aged men who can’t quiet themselves down without being told make me crazy), said suddenly, “My therapist said the other day that “excitement and anxiety are the same emotion, except you breathe during one and don’t in the other,” and then just when I thought we were all going to get a moment to check on what inside us might be frozen, paralyzed, in need of air, he plowed ahead, almost shouting, seemingly unaware.