Things that Sometimes Happen in a Cafe When You Live in a City.
Sometimes you will seek refuge from a hail storm in a cafe. You will order a scone and some coffee and you will sit for a while. You will be frustrated when you need to use the restroom and the bookstore that’s attached to the cafe doesn’t open until 10 am, so neither does the restroom. It’s now 9:42 am.
Sometimes, after you’ve waited it out, the door on the restroom requires a quarter to enter. Thankfully you have a quarter, but still.
Sometimes you notice a sign above the sink that says something about needing the quarter to enter because of a problem with needles or something. You’re in Chelsea, so it seems strange. But not really.
Sometimes, the night before, you’ll have conversations with someone at a bar about travel and ambition and you want to hop on a plane and just leave with wonder and fear. You also discuss how, when on your travels, you often meet more Australians than locals. They travel so much. How?
Sometimes you’re at a cafe the next morning and a painfully attractive couple sits next to you. The blonde is wearing a bowler and you think, “Of course.” Then they start talking about minimalism and you groan. Then you realize they are also Australian. You drift away into your own work but are interrupted when you hear one of them utter, “We should go, yoga starts soon.” Because, of course it does.
Sometimes you go to a Starbucks because you know it’s there. Or because someone gave you a gift card. And it’s nice to get lost in the white noise of all the people ordering and chatting. You smile a little when you see a group of tourists taking a photo of the walls. You casually raise your eyebrow at someone for choosing Trenta.
Sometimes a young Japanese woman with short hair, a camo jacket three sizes too big, and earphones draped around her neck will sit across from you and open a notebook. She tells, not asks, you and the woman sitting next to you, “I’m going to sketch you.” You make a side glance and smile to the woman to your right and both go about your business.
Sometimes her eyes will dart fervently between your face and her pen. You catch in your peripherals that she’s actually almost never looking at her paper when she draws. Nor is she deterred when you look at her directly in the eyes. People almost never really look at each other, you think.
Sometimes you will sit with your $3 bottomless mug at a place filled with people in their mid-late 20s. You will look around and want to scream at everyone, because, you wonder, how is this so easy for you? How are you okay? And then you remember, they are perhaps carrying something too. And you drift back into your work and hope the rain lets up.