I'm at Starbucks, munching a scone, drinking a mocha, typing and thinking.
A woman enters. She crosses to the counter, orders, comes back to my corner. She has a drink and attache, and prepares to settle into an easy chair with some noise and motion. Some people move silently, part of the shadows. Others are a show. I don't know if there are psychological reasons for her show or if she's unmindful of it but the process brings her into contact with the woman at the corner table.
The two apologize. The corner table woman, a gray hoodie on, the hood up, frayed legged jeans crossed, computer open, shifts her chair, wood on tile. The new arrival - interloper - apologizes again and sits, squirming around. "I'm sorry." She has an actor's projection. "I'm looking for the perfect coffee experience." She sips her drink. "With tea. I'm drinking tea."
The other person returns to her computer. The interloper stands, circles to the shop's middle and peers across the room toward the table by my right. She hunches down and moves her head back and forth a few times, then circles back and asks, "Louisa? Is that you?" She points to hereself. "It's me, Mathilda."
Louisa recognizes her. Mathilda closes in. "It's been a while. Should we hug?"
A hug is negotiated. Mathilda and Louisa catch up. Mathilda introduces herself to Louisa's companion and explains, "I taught Louisa. I also taught her brothers and sisters."
Louisa and her companion are soft voiced people. I can't hear their end. Mathilda asks, "How is your brother, Ian? Is he still with that girl?"
The chat meanders and trickles into light good-byes. Mathilda returns to her seat and picks up her smart phone. She thumbs buttons for several minutes. Louisa and her friend prepare to leave.
Mathilda calls them over. "Louisa, are you on Faceback or Twitter or any social media?"
"I do some Facebooking," Louisa replies.
"If you go onto Facebook, you can see Kendall and keep track of him. There are a lot of Kendalls so if you add his number, you can find him. Here, let me show you."
Mathilda gets up and shows Louisa and her friend on her smart phone. They talk about Kendall. Kendall is Mathilda's son. He's 20, a pitcher, in the Tampa Bay farm system in Florida. "He asks about you, Louisa. You should friend him on Facebook."
"Oh, okay, I will," Louisa replies. "Well, gotta go."
"Oh, it was good seeing you," Mathilda gushes. "You all grew up together."
"Yes, good seeing you, too," Louisa replies, and leaves.
Mathilda returns to her smart phone and her perfect coffee experience. I wonder if I just witness an effort at matchmaking, or a naturally friendly, gregarious woman.
Her comment that she seeks the perfect coffee experience causes me to consider my own. My coffee shop visits with my computer and my writing agenda are not perfect coffee experiences. They are writing experiences. Because I'm not involved with my surroundings, I'm free to write, think, or stare without interruptions.
My perfect coffee experience belongs back at home. I grind the beans and make a cuppa, enjoying all the steps with their attendant smells and sounds. A comfortable chair is acquired. If it's sunny, the chair will be in a patch of sunshine, maybe outside, if warm enough. When rain or snow falls, I seek a place to watch and listen. With all, I'll have a book to read, and I'll read and think as I sip coffee.
Usually a cat will join me. No, usually three cats will join me. Quinn will come first. Me, on a chair and reading while sipping coffee, is one of his favorite lapping experiences. I take this as so by how often it happens. He seems to have a very sophisticated sense of my location and activity.
Quinn will knead and purr, circling several times before settling his furry body someone on my lap or draped over my arm, one of his favorite positions, with his head hanging over. Lady arrives next with a soft half-mew, circling to see what's going on. She'll jump up, see Quinn, grant him an indignant glare, and jump down. She'll continue circling and considering me, wanting to know what's going on, trying to understand how she'll fit in. Me Two is her nickname because she suffers the Feeling Left Out syndrome. Others initiate but she wants to be included.
Last to arrive but with great noise is Number One cat, Scheckter, the gingerbear. He sees Quinn on my lap. He doesn't care. He is number one. He leap up, respectful of Quinn's presence, but he will assert himself and find a place on my lap. Sometimes Quinn will tolerate the close proximity but othertimes he'll flash some claw in a quick swipe. Scheckter is patient in response. He's older, an experienced hunter and fighter. He knows young cats can be impetuous. If Quinn really wants to go at it, Scheckter will oblige him, Scheckter says with expression and tail language.
Quinn rethinks. Depending on how miffed he is, he'll jump down and trot off or pretend he's approving of Scheckter's presence and position, lowering his head and closing his eyes. He's saying, "It doesn't bother me at all," but his tail flips up and down, saying much more on the subject.
Back at the coffee shop, Mathilda has opened her attache. Pen and a thick sheaf of papers are in hand. She's busy in her world.
I return to mine.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com