It's Not My Fault; She Started It.

I've got a favorite coffeehouse in every corner of Minneapolis-Saint Paul. I'm kind of like the proverbial sailor who's got a sweetheart in every port.

While running errands in Edina on a gloomy, wind-howling morning, I ducked into my go-to caffeine paramour and ordered a cup of dark roast.

Behind me in line, a young mother inspected cartons of milk on display in a cooler. Her child, a girl of around four, tried to capture my attention by playing peek-a-boo, singing little songs, and twirling around in circles. I smiled an acknowledgment but basically ignored the tyke.

After I paid the barista, I picked up my coffee and looked around for a table.

The little girl said to me, "You look like a witch."

I had no quarrel with the child's assessment of my appearance. That day, garbed in all-black attire and pointy-toed boots, I indeed looked like a Halloween ornament.

"I'm not a witch," I said.

Overhearing the conversation, the young mother looked at me, eyes wide and a blush creeping into her cheeks. "I am so sorry."

"That's okay," I said. "I do look like a witch. In fact, I consider it a compliment to be mistaken for one. Witches are very powerful beings. I knew a witch once and she took being a witch very seriously. She was always attending workshops to learn new skills because she considered witchcraft her calling. I understand about callings because surrealistic painting is my calling. Interestingly enough, I listed Surrealism as my religion on Facebook... "

"Have a nice day," the mother said to me. She handed the barista money, put her purchase into a tote-bag, grabbed the kid's hand, and high-tailed it out of the coffeehouse.

I took a sip of my coffee, wondering for the millionth time why I keep living in Minnesota: everybody seems to think I talk too much.