Many years ago when the world was open and I was still working up to my first degree I used to spend a lot of time alone in coffee shops. There was a Starbucks a short bus ride from my Moscow city hostel I used to frequent. I almost always ordered a latte, usually short, so it wouldn’t get cold before I finished it. Some days that order included a slice of carrot cake. This particular Starbucks had real pineapple chunks in it and I appreciated what this brought to the flavour profile of what is arguably one of the greatest cakes out there. Yes. This is a hill I’m willing to die on.
The ambience brought me back time and again. Something about the indie rock playing in the background and the din of people talking, connecting and having animated conversations worked well with the general atmosphere. Another sound you didn’t really hear though was the sound of people who are not making any sounds. They sat and read, occasionally checking their phones and then putting them back down less than quietly. Or they starred at MacBook and tablet screens, with seemingly unbreakable concentration, getting things done.
The worn out wooden paneling on the floor, and the wood furniture all give this feeling of something real, not fake or pretentious. It helped to ground my wandering weary thoughts in this world. And the coffee, the luxury that it was, tasted really good.
One of those days I went there I’d just been looking at my timetable for the semester where it hung on my bedroom wall and it had just mysteriously fallen off the wall. I took that as a sign. It was an opportunity to understand that sometimes you make plans and it doesn’t work out. You have the choice to either adjust the plan or fix the wall, and often the plan is the easier fix. The pandemic is teaching me about the need to be flexible with yourself and your plans. And to learn to still have things to look forward to, because a lot of life is about the things you can look forward to.