What Are We All Doing Here?

An Ode to My Local Starbucks


Kids are back in school. College kids with their laptops, textbooks, and neon markers. Spiral notebooks and sheets of papers, more notes, more annotations.

And ex-college “kids” — older adults still doing our “work” — on our older, tank like laptops.

We might have a wrinkled folio or a dirty marble notebook, or something more respectable looking, a Moleskin.

These might hint at the age of our whatever dreams we still chase.

I’m lucky to get a spot on the communal table, for it’s four hours before closing and that’s just prime time.

A little girl is playing a video game on smartphone, volume: on. Her dad is nearby watching something on tablet, earbuds on.

Two high school girls talk very excitedly. Their subject: oral sex. People nearby are poker faced. Just New York.

There’s an old lady who looks like happy Buddha from behind her laptop screen.

A voice pleads, “Move the cup!” Two friends smile and take their selfies to picture frame perfection.

Like swimmers I come up for breaths from time to time. Stroking on the keyboard is brain swimming.

A charger debate has started. A couple accidentally knocked a phone charger off the outlet. The phone belongs to a regular who is a neighborhood homeless known to the neighborhood.

“One hour before closing,” a barista announces. The regulars who now remain are persistent.

A daughter and her senior father: she pours half her cup of coffee into his. She brings him here every night. He sits quiet and deep in thoughts. She sits quiet reading her tablet.

The old man snaps out sometimes and scans the people who have gathered here…

When they could be elsewhere, an older man and his male companion ogle from the couch, in their ‘80s gym wears. They leer when I don’t respond to creepy.

Oh, regulars. Why? “Fifteen minutes before closing!”

The Buddha old lady has turned her laptop slightly. She is happily reading the news.

And a college kid is helping his friend. He points at notations of f x y z as he explains this equation and that.

And a renegade laptop user walks in. He quickly finds an empty table, plugs in. He doesn’t buy coffee.

I finish my coffee before I go. I bid my barista friends goodnight.

Things to do, I’ll be back.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.