Joanne sat at an empty table in a coffee shop and stared angrily at a small, ceramic coffee cup. It was the middle of the night and she was practicing interacting with the corporeal world by the light from the street lamps outside. She had been dead for nearly a month and had no idea if she could communicate with the living. She was beginning to feel quite lonely, so she was on a mission to find out what her limits were and use whatever means she could to get the attention of someone in the living world. She took a deep breath, exhaled, and tried to grasp the cup. Her fingers passed straight through it. She grumbled to herself and tried again. She squinted, stuck her tongue out a bit, and tried to grasp the cup with a swift motion. She wound up making a fist inside of the cup. No luck.
“God damn it,” she whispered to herself.
She decided to try several times in quick succession. She clenched her fist into the cup over and over again. Eventually she became frustrated and swung her arm back and forth wildly, passing through it every time. The cup sat undisturbed. She squinted at it and pursed her lips tightly. It stared back at her, mocking her silently.
“I can sit in this god damned chair, why can’t I pick up a cup?” She asked herself, growing more and more exasperated. She clenched her fists angrily and swung them through the cup before groaning and slamming her face on to the table. She closed her eyes tightly and and let out a high pitched squeal, like an agitated tea kettle. She ran her fingers through her hair, pushing off her toque, and let out a long sigh. She stretched her arms out onto the table as she leaned forward. Her left arm bumped the cup and knocked it over. She looked up and rolled her eyes.
“Freaking klutz,” she whispered to herself.
She sat up and grabbed the cup, placing it back in its spot. Her eyes grew wide and her jaw dropped.
“Holy crap,” she said staring at her ceramic foe.
She did it. She picked it up. She knocked it over, she picked it up, and she had no idea how. She tried several more times from every angle to no avail. She tried repeating the motion of stretching across the table but that didn’t work either. She let out another angry squeal and clenched her fists. She stood up and marched out of the coffee shop. Without even thinking she pushed the door open as she left. She started walking down the block and after a few minutes she stopped. She was really quite terrible at noticing these significant moments as they happened.
“The door,” she whispered to herself.
She ran back to the coffee shop and looked at the door.
“Just do it casually,” she said. “Don’t even think about it. Just like normal.”
She backed up a few steps, took a deep breath, exhaled, and casually stepped toward the door. She grasped the handle, her hand gripped it and pulled. Her heart began to race and she laughed excitedly to herself, as the handle passed through her hands and closed.
“Crap,” she said. “Don’t even think about it. Just do it.”
Without a thought she quickly grabbed the door and swung it open. She walked confidently to a table and sat down. Without looking she shot her hand out, grabbed a coffee cup, and turned it over. She looked down at it. That was the secret. Don’t overthink it. Just act naturally. Treat the afterlife like it was any other normal day.
‘Okay,’ she thought. ‘Time to get someones attention.’