As I sat outside at my usual coffee stop, I couldn’t help but realize how different things have become. The days of sitting inside, close to others, enjoying a cup of Joe while tapping away at these tired keys may be gone forever. Instead, I sit just out of the doors, feeling the morning breeze on my state-required mask, removing it only to sip my plain, black coffee.
Before, you could hear rumblings of all sorts as patrons passed by, in and out as their busy days passed them by. But now, most of the sound comes from cars on the freeway.
After a several minutes of isolation, I did encounter another customer that chose to enter the store instead of using the heavily-recommended drive thru option. Two women, not much older than myself — to make assumptions about both their age and gender, though, may be to make an ass of myself — sat down several feet from my table. They didn’t know I was here to observe, as my headphones and laptop cloaked me in disguise.
“I just don’t know what to do,” Character One said. “He just doesn’t seem interested anymore.”
The next exchange was nearly inaudible as a car honked obnoxiously. It must have been 30 or 40 feet from my seat, but it seemed as if the horn itself was up against my ear drum.
Before I could re-engage on the prior conversation, two others started walking toward the door. These younger men, perhaps 19 or 20 years old, got out of separate vehicles and headed inside to place their orders.
One was wearing a mask that displayed a smile on the outside, to which the other character gave a swift “oh fucking sweet mask, dude. I dig it.”
The lingo seemed a bit odd, given the we are living in the year of our Lord 2020, but to each their own.
Now, completely disconnected from the original two characters, and my time at the coffee shop running short, I began to pack up my things. As I walked back to my vehicle, which sat on the side of the building with the drive thru, I heard a message not necessarily meant for me, but I accepted it anyway.
“Have a great day!” the barista exclaimed to car leaving the line. The car gave no response, at least that I could hear, but in my mind, I gave a subtle “you too”.
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