At Starbucks

It’s a confusing world here. I’m sitting at a long table facing the baristas. Three out of four are pretty, a pretty good percentage.

I wonder how any one gets any work done at any of these places.

There’s the conversations around me. The tall man on my right is talking on his cell phone while adding milk and sugar to his cup, stirring and capping it all with one hand. I’m sitting with a young mother and her 3 or 4 year old in a Barcelona football (soccer if American) jersey. She’s trying to read the paper and keep a conversation going with the child. The muted hum of compressors is interspersed with the strident voices of the baristas calling out orders and letting people know when their food is ready. The music is as always in Starbucks.

I look around me and wonder, as I’ve so often done in airports, railway stations and hotel lobbies over the years, who are these people? What do they do? I’ve just been joined by a pair of oddly matched men at my table. One is in a charcoal suit with white pin stripes and light blue checked shirt and dark blue grey textured tie. His companion is an older Asian man, balding white hair and a thick white moustache. Mr Suit has worked on his phone since he sat down with occasional words to the kid in the Barcelona jersey and his white moustached companion.

Out in the corner at a high table sit two guys who look like they are construction workers of some kind. One is in shorts, the other has blue work pants, a fleece pop-over and a cap. They both wear steel-capped shoes. In one of the lounge chairs in the corner sits a middle aged man, heavy set and glowering with a laptop on his lap. He’s been there since I came in.

There’s a girl in a denim jacket, tight black knitted jeans encasing a tight butt, rubber boots like Wellingtons. She’s got a thick scarf to go with the jacket, big headphones on her head and papers scattered all over her table. She’s been working furiously since I came in.

The middle aged man in the corner has just been hugged by a thick set lady in a white jacket who just came in. What is their relationship? Has he been waiting for her all this time or is this a chance meeting?

Way out towards my right are more tables with more people working away. They’ve been there since I came in. The girl in the black and white polka dot shirt is wearing a faux leather and embroidered short jacket and Puma walking shoes.She’s been waiting for her drink with a green straw between her lips.

As for me? I’m sitting here killing time before my lunch date. I’m wearing a white, pique polo t-shirt, artificially-faded blue Levis 511s, Adidas running shoes in Dark Blue with Lime accents. I did think I could get some work done on the application I’m prototyping but, as always, I’m fascinated by the world around me. The constant waft of smells, the ebbing and flowing of the movement around me, the basic muted hum of sound punctuated by calls and loud bursts of conversation just means that my mind is unable to concentrate.

I continue to wonder about the people around me. But it’s time to pack up and head out to lunch.

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  1. mahabore

    That is quite the melting pot that you have described there. One could easily visualize almost all the people that you have talked about in the post. Good stuff …

    1. TheLastWord

      Thanks! Since I live in Canada you be assured that there must have been a few nations represented there as well. I mean as antecedent nations.

  2. mamlu chatterjee

    aaah! People watching! My all time favorite pastime. I’m fascinated too by random people at busy places. I’m dying to know what the polka dot girl was working on and also if the middle aged man and the thick set woman are having a pre arranged meeting or one by (happy) chance! I liked this Slo-Man, I liked it a lot.

    1. TheLastWord

      Thanks. The girl in the denim jacket and the polka dot girls are two different girls.
      The denim jacket was working furiously and the Polka Dot was with a couple of friends.
      Yes, i’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the people around me, their stories, their reasons for being there.
      Delighted to have your comments.

  3. purbaray

    There’s so much to see and learn if we choose to look up from our mobiles.I love observing people, it’s my favourite pastime when I don’t have much to do.

    1. TheLastWord

      I get the feeling that all writers do this, consciously or unconsciously. It’s what gives them texture for the words they use later. Besides, I’m a naturally curious person. I always want to work out patterns, and identify the logic / thinking behind anything I see.
      Thanks for coming by and leaving me a comment.