slice of life

Lancaster Work Session #sol16

Lynne Dorfman and I are collaborating on a project. The half-way point between our homes is in the heart of Amish Country, where we met last time we got together to work in-person. However, we needed wifi for today’s work session. Therefore, we met at the Lancaster Barnes & Noble.


We worked for a few hours at Barnes & Noble, but needed to leave for lunch. Being gluten-free, I couldn’t find anything to eat at the B&N Cafe, so we drove over to Weis and hit the salad bar. Fortunately, the Weis near Barnes & Noble has a cafe (with wifi!) where we were able to sit. We had the whole place (like 15 tables!) to ourselves, which was a delight.

But then I noticed a man, with a large can of beer, plop himself down at the next table. Lynne’s back was to him so I’m not sure if she noticed him there. What I noticed is that he kept staring over at us (which caused me to glance back at him). His staring made me uneasy so I kept glancing back at him.

Lynne and I were in the middle of a serious discussion about spelling and conventions in elementary school (Exciting stuff, right?) when the man decided he’d weigh-in on why kids in American cannot spell.

I gave Lynne a look as if to say this is going to be good.

The man began his spiel, breathing his beer-laden breath on Lynne (who was now very aware of his presence), who was sitting catty-corner to him. He told us about his college degree, his former occupation, and that he was now a substitute teacher. Then, he began a diatribe on how kids in America cannot spell properly because of a lack of discipline in the public schools.

I looked at the time on my computer. We had 25 minutes left to our work session since I had to make sure I left ample time to drive west to pick Isabelle up from school. This was not how I wanted to spend my last 25 minutes with Lynne. So there I was, searching for an appropriate way to stop this man from wrecking our time, when Lynne sweetly interrupted him and said, “That’s not what our project’s about.” Then she swiveled around in her chair and began talking to me again.

The man muttered something, got up, and left. I was shocked he took the hint. I was thankful he wasn’t drunk. I was delighted Lynne found the right thing to say to shut him down (because it was nicer than the things I was conjuring up in my mind).

And just like that, we got back to work. And, by the way, we finished everything we set out to do together right on schedule.

Head over to for more slices of life.
Head over to for more slices of life.

17 thoughts on “Lancaster Work Session #sol16

  1. You and Lynne are an indomitable combo! No beer-swilling interrupter will slow you down! Glad it all worked out.

  2. That is a great response! I often feel at a loss as to how I should respond to these very blatant attacks on our professions. I sat through a whole pedicure once listening to all the evil things school had done to the aesthetician’s son (this after I told her I teach, of course) and I eventually found a new hair stylist for the same reason. I did shut my sister-in-law down the last time I saw her. She was insisting schools don’t teach this or that and I had to say, “Um, actually I teach that every single year.”

  3. It’s such a challenge when people who have no idea what they are talking about decide to weigh in on topics that we’ve devoted our lives to studying, spending countless hours learning and growing, and sacrificing our time with family and friends to become experts. I have no qualms about shutting. it. down. when somebody decides to give unsolicited advice on “kids these days.” Argh.

  4. Wow, he had some nerve. Glad it was shut down before it got too out of control. It amazes me how so many seem to feel they have it all figured out. Nothing is so simple. Good luck on the project! It actually does sound delightful.

  5. You had me at the edge of my seat! I could completely see and hear Lynne’s voice. Sweet, but clear. Love it and glad it all worked out. I know that pit in your stomach knowing you need to leave enough time to make back for pick-up!

  6. I would have loved to have been there to hear your conversation with Lynne. Not just because she politely put this man in his place, but because I am curious about what you discussed regarding spelling. 🙂


  7. Stacey – I had to visit to read this piece. You so accurately captured our “encounter” with the man-with-a-beer-and-nothing-really-to-say! I had such a great day with you yesterday. We accomplished so much! Spending this Wednesday looking over everything. More later!

  8. I will have to tuck Lynne’s approach into my mind to be able to step away from conversations that I do not want to be a part of. Love the way you described the details.

  9. When I read your words, i could feel the worry climbing up my back, ready for an ugly scene with. Lynne solved the situation very well. You recorded the slice superbly.

  10. Love that Lynn showed you a comment that worked, but even more I am amazed that someone would step in to join your conversation with his own “agenda”. Glad it was taken care of post-haste, & that you both had a good session.

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