Sunday, April 10, 2011

From Observer to Greeter

Oh, how I love to people watch. I’m sitting at Starbucks, and the guy outside is reading a book called All Things Shining. He’s sitting in the bright sunshine (the umbrella is still closed from our recent winds) and his feet are propped up on the chair across from him.

It’s Sunday morning, and Starbucks is bustling. All the tables are full. In fact, I had to quickly lose my place in line to grab the table where I sit today. Another man was also headed for it, and we decided to share the table, even though it was tiny. I told him, “We’ll just pretend we’re in Europe, where they share tables in restaurants.” I hoped he knew what I was talking about; it seemed like he did. So, right now he is sitting opposite me, reading the Wall Street Journal.

Against the wall is a young man who I have seen here two days in a row. He has no drink in front of him (maybe he’s been here so long that he already drank one?) and he is drawing. That’s exactly how he looked yesterday – sitting there in a low slung hat, drawing with an ink pen on a pad of paper before him. He’s chewing a toothpick – but on closer inspection I see that it’s a match that is hanging rakishly from his mouth. Much cooler. I wonder what his story is. Everyone has a story.

An excited group cry just came from the corner, where a family of three generations (at least) is hunched over a computer that is sitting on the coffee table. They are skyping with a family member somewhere far away. I should move closer and try to learn more, but I’m too lazy.

At a table in the window, a heavyset man sits alone with no drink. He is waiting for someone. Finally a woman enters, looks around the room, then walks over to him and introduces herself. It must be a blind date. I bet they met on the internet. They order drinks and their conversation mixes with that of the room.

Soon my role of Observer will change, due to the change in the season. It is now warm enough outside to resume bringing George with me, and we will sit outside next to the door and try to stay in the shade of the umbrella as the sun crosses overhead. There, we are the Greeters, and everyone says hello to George as they enter or exit. It gives him a big ego.

I love to be at home on a day like this, with the windows wide to let in the sunshine. But it’s also nice to be outside in the world, interacting even in a small way, being part of it all, observing.

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