I am at this new Starbucks (I just had to give it a go), and for the first time in all my long years of hanging out at coffee places, I get conscious of that clicking sound that comes out of jostling ceramic mugs and plates.
I don’t know but that sound made me automatically think of busy mornings…people lining up all in a hurry to have their coffee and run to work, the steam coming out of coffee machines, the smell of hot fresh muffins, waiters calling out names. I was never that much into coffee; but I think the thing that got me into it in the first place was how alive coffee places always look, especially in the morning. And the moment I got introduced
to the whole world of coffee, there was that one thing that got me head-over-heels in love with it…
You walk into a coffee place, you look around, you see all those different people doing all those different things and you can’t help but think that everyone right here is a human being that has a life. I mean at a restaurant, people are basically eating and chatting; but at a café, there are people chatting, fighting, studying, reading, working on their computers. It’s like there is a whole life in there.
Tell you what? Let me do a little scan for you…
Okay, there is that blonde-haired lady who seemed to be aimlessly scrolling through her phone, she has just dropped it in her bag and now she’s playing with her hair. I guess there is a big chance she is waiting for someone. There is a kid in an orange t-shirt who is completely indulged in whatever game he’s playing on his smart phone (maybe it’s his mom’s phone), his Harry Potter-ish looking brother now leans over to curiously watch.
There is an Asian couple right next to me quietly having lunch; a muffin, a cookie and coffee. The family to my right seems to have only come in here to take a break from their shopping trip.
Two cool-looking young ladies just walked in with their little kids and their nanny; one of them has this cute pixie haircut that I literally adore but don’t have the guts to have (not any more by the way; I’m now a proud member of the Pixie club). The nanny is making funny faces at one of the kids and I bet he’s laughing as I’m laughing myself, she gives off all those warm caring vibes and it’s just heart-warming.
Oh! To my nine-o’clock, there is another mommy with her two kids; her daughter (who looks 9 years old tops) has fuchsia hair tips. I see those hair tips and I think of how the wildest action I got when I was nine was having stayed up after midnight to watch the new millennium celebratory fireworks on TV in my pajamas, and it just hits me: no doubt those youngsters are so damn intimidating!
And then, there is me, big glasses, green hair bandana (I’m so into bandanas these days), an empty mug, a legal pad, the one I’m writing in at the moment. There is a book, a notebook and a pencil case on the table. I’m not sure what impression that all might be giving but I definitely hope it’s not: “What a pretentious phony!” I hope the legal pad helps with the writer’s vibe I’m dreaming to be able to develop one of those days. I would actually love it if I was giving off a nerdy impression; I actually like it when people say I’m a nerd.
See, a whole life right in one place…there is laughter, stress, courteous smiles, frowns, waiting, chats, greetings, complaints about coffee served cold, and sincere gestures of gratitude. There is friends getting together, acquaintances accidentally bumping into one another, decisions made, books finished, assignment essays written. There is catching up, drifting apart, apologies made…all in one place.
And the most beautiful thing about all those people is, everyone has got a story tell. Everyone dreams about something, is chasing after something, is scared of something. Everyone has got their own scars, their secrets, a favorite drink, a favorite book, a secret celebrity crush.
I think of all that and I smile for I’m grateful for how the sound of mugs clicking has reminded me of how coffee places aren’t just coffee places and how life is, most of the time, a beautiful place to be!
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