Starbucks Observations

I’m sitting in the corner at a Starbucks, sipping on a Shaken Unsweetened Passion Iced Tea and watching three men in the opposite corner as they have a lively debate about the Bible and aliens. Come Away With Me by Norah Jones is currently streaming from Pandora to my ears via headphones, and the sun is finally starting to warm the wet earth for the first time in two days.

This week has been rough. When I couldn’t keep it together this morning, I finally just grabbed my Macbook and left the house. I wandered around for a while, considered calling a friend, and then ultimately ended up here to do some writing. I don’t know that I have anything worth saying, but I had to try anyway.

I need the sun to warm the wet earth of my soul. I think I finally stopped to take a breath this week and was hit by the weight of the last month. It was non-stop answering questions, trying to make everyone else comfortable, sifting through many “expert” opinions and cures, and so on. I’m exhausted.

I’ve been asked to write more regularly to give updates, and I want to oblige. I keep typing and deleting, typing and deleting. I know there are things to say, but the truth is that I’m just feeling more at home in a quiet space right now. The last month has been so loud–like when the neighbor would not go away, though her incessant knocks and rings went unanswered since I didn’t feel up for company, because she’s positive that alkaline water is going to heal me–and I just need some quiet.

So today, instead of telling you about myself, I’m going to tell you about the people around me in this Starbucks.

Directly to my right, there’s a very large white man pecking away furiously on his laptop. I glanced up just in time to see him toggling between an online forum and a powerpoint presentation called “White Supremacy and Racism in America Today.” He was copying info from the powerpoint and pasting it into a post on the forum, which included a bold heading that read, “You’re racist against white people!” I cringed and noted the sweat dripping down his brow, and then I quickly diverted my eyes.

The three men in the corner are still having their lively debate, though I’ve since realized that the debate is rather one-sided…every time one of the other two men try to speak, the third interrupts and says whatever’s on his mind as loudly as possible. They kindly smile and nod and wait for a chance to break in again. I wonder if they’re embarrassed by all of his alien talk. I think he kind of looks like Barry Manilow with a mullet.

A young woman just asked if the seat to my left was taken, and then sat by me to read a book. She took a phone call a page or two in, and now she’s arguing with someone about whether or not they’ll get paid for the work they did last week. I don’t miss being in charge of other people’s paychecks.

The sweaty white supremacist finally left, and now I can hear the conversation of the two people who were sitting on the other side of him. A young woman is telling a young man how he could better market himself to the ladies. They’re of different ethnicities and she just said, “Seriously, if it weren’t so taboo for me to date you, I’d be all over it. But I think we can boost your dating profile so that you get more emails, at least. You’re not the hottest guy out there but you’re pretty okay. I mean, I think someone will eventually bite.” Wow. I kind of want to give him a hug and tell him that he should get his dating advice elsewhere.

Mullet Manilow has stopped talking about aliens long enough to join hands and pray with the other two, who are continuing to nod in agreement. There’s a woman sitting near them now with an open book on her lap, but she can’t seem to concentrate on it for more than a few seconds at a time, what with all of the loud praying and aliens and mullets flying about.

I wonder about each of these coffee consumers as I catch a very small snippet of their lives today. What are their stories? What has broken them in life? What has made them feel loved? Do we have anything in common? If they knew my story, what would they think of me? I know I’m not the hottest girl out there, but am I pretty okay?

This Starbucks suddenly feels a little too loud. I’m going to head out and soak up some sun.


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