Saturday morning, and I had some minutes to myself. In I went to the local café for my second shot of caffeine that morning. As usual, the place was packed. All the tables were occupied, with customers queuing to order and more standing around waiting. Some were ‘reading’ their phones, some were people-watching (guess what I was doing J) and some browsing the weekend editions.
When the barista called my name and I was handed my coffee, this is what I saw:
And something inside me shifted, a sense of resentment and the word ‘no’ popped into my mind.
I then realised what it was about popping into the café to get a takeout coffee meant for me. It was not just about the coffee, or the idea of being part of the in-crowd; nor was it merely a habit.
Buying that coffee in that café was for me, a ritual. Though one that I do not do often, it represented a sense of belonging and connection, space to breathe and chill out, moments to observe the world, to make eye contact with another person, to coo at a baby, to smile at a child asking for a huge brownie, inevitably bumping into others in the tight space, to soak up the sounds, aromas and buzz of the place – being in that café queuing up for a coffee and waiting for it to be served allowed me to live outside my mind for a while.
I know not everyone makes the same meaning when they visit a café. That is okay.
But for me, ‘no’. I will not be taking up the offer of ease, efficiency or time-saving by pre-ordering my coffee. There are moments to take my time, to savor the rhythm of life. I will drop in when I feel like I need a coffee, or the introverted me may just need to be with humanity…
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