it’s that time of day where i search and search for something to say. and if i could say anything, would it be worth writing about?
i could write about the barista at the Starbucks on the way to work. He said, “How are you doing today?” I said, “not bad” (which was true), and then I asked him “How are YOU?” He sort of stood there, frozen, surprised, and then he said, “I can’t believe that. No one ever asks me that,” which I found difficult to believe (but I think it must have been true). And then he said “the coffee is on us.”
But, as it turns out, it didn’t work out entirely in my favor. There are certain days, such as today, when I am particularly overly sensitive to caffeine… and I struggled with this edgy unfocused energy most of the day… which only diminished once I surrendered to being unfocussed. I think the barista must have foreseen that this would happen. There is usually a reason when a barista willingly does not charge you coffee. You just have to look for the signs, which apparently I did not.
At work, there is often a man who comes to the library specifically to read the day’s newspapers which are held at the reference desk, and he likes to sit in the chair closest to the desk. He will grab the Tribune and take that to his chair. And then a few minutes later, the NY Times, and a few minutes later the Wall Street Journal. And each time he returns to the desk, he murmurs “thank you” with his eyes downcast. And each time I am always overwhelmed by his very strong cologne. He tends to dress like … I’m not sure how to describe it as a style. A navy blue blazer, white shirt with tie, white pants. On summer Sundays, white shorts and yellow golf shirt… a Panama hat. Like a 40-something year-old frat boy. And always that cologne.
On a day like today, when I am edgy, I have this uneasy feeling that there is something that he wants from me. But he doesn’t really quite know how to ask. But if I engage with him, that may encourage him to ask what I may not want to hear. It’s peculiar. This sense of self-protection that makes me feel like a not very good person. I know he means no harm, especially on a day like today when he was actually dressed like Captain Kangaroo.