Reading Carver in the morning

May 6, 2015
Church St Cafe

When I think of all the things I’m not (borrowing the opening to ch. 12 of Hugo, ‘A Brief Touchdown in Paradise’)… When I scan the streets for visions of myself and witness only possible outcomes of myself, potential future states, I find the present alienating and a little more than harrowing at times. Unlike Hugo, though, I do give a shit.

I’m learning to be content with my choices in life, with whatever it is I’ve chosen to pursue or not pursue. Content with what is inherent in me, this  fundamental condition.

To go cup

To go cup

Reading Carver this morning: “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love”.

The sun sneaks into the front windows of the café from in between the peaks of two victorians across the street. Two old guys sit over to the right talking about Turkey, their church and the Middle East. Ahead of me two guys, one 70 the other about 40 years younger, are perched in leather chairs. The old guy has good posture and is reading the NY Times. The young guy, marked incognito by his dark baseball cap and baggy clothes, is slouched down reading intently from his small handheld. Could be Hollywood or could be hi-tech. Outside, perched around a set of to-go cups and mobile phones are a trio in their 20’s: hoodies and black jackets and smoldering cigarettes. They are joined by another derelict, some middle aged artist, hungover or still high, all of their experiments in rehab gone mutually asunder. They depart, unseen.

2 guys in the window - church st cafe

2 guys in the window – church st cafe

There’s a brief flurry of activity inside at the counter: coffees to go, an occasional pastry or a hard boiled egg. The flurry disperses to the sidewalk and a google bus lumbers by, stops by the neighboring building. Its butt sticks out in front of the window where the two old guys are talking retiree shop. Ignoring the bus, they get up from their chairs to get the sun out of their eyes.

On the sidewalk the hipsters all head to work, wet hair and beards and skull caps, with tracking badges dangling from their sides, while inside the old guys are pushing cafe chairs around noisily.

google bus

google bus

In walks Pollyanna Pink Pants with his plaid jacket and loafers without socks, movie star sunglasses and a striped canvas bag slung over his forearm.  He’s got the gay accent and a pitch of D-minor: “I’ll have a medium Jamaican roast to go. And a blueberry scone.”  Things are good right now, all signs pointing to fabulous. He will weep, though, when the happiness ends. When he’s called one day into the office and told he’s being let go. (We’ve all been there.) He will weep as if his heart has been torn in two, because nobody who wears pink pants merely cries; they weep.

Meanwhile, outside the hipster girls in their frilly scarves and earbuds consult their phones all the way down the block.  Another double-decker google bus comes to a stop in front of the café, its monolithic form stretched across the entire front of the café, with no beginning or ending in sight. Inside, the old guys again re-position themselves against the sun, and here and there a stranger ponders all the things that he is not.

sunlight, cafe chairs

sunlight, cafe chairs


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