An empty coffee cup in a full coffee shop. Sunday morning in London, and Steve and I are trying to live the urban life. We have squeezed into the coffee shop where all the Londoners are having their breakfast, sheltered from the cold and humid day outside. I find it fascinating that we can all be sitting here, almost shoulder to shoulder, in a small room, drinking our coffee and minding our own business while we know nothing about each other. What would happen if we got locked in here for a few days and we had to start talking to each other? What would we find out about one another?
The barista has already gotten Steve’s attention. He is enthusiastic about his task, and makes his coffee with the same vigor the matador uses to manipulate the bull in the bullfight. Elegantly and with a hint of masculine power he knocks the coffee filter on to a steel bowl, making a noise that penetrates the constant buzz of conversation in the room—boom, boom, boom, boom. The long table in the middle reminds me of Medieval times—a long table filled with people talking and laughing. Only difference is that the beer has been exchanged with cappuccinos and lattes. The attires worn are following the 21st century trends, not the 12th.
It is easy to block the real world out of my life, and only focus on small issues that my head is capable of, like: Should I get another cup of coffee.
Soon I will be back in my home, with my kids, my dog, the dust bunnies in the corners, the empty pantry and the missing school books. Soon I will be back to my inbox, my unfinished work and a messy desk. I am looking forward to it. Going back to what the people I know and who know me, going back to a place that is safe, although it is messy. Going back to a job that gives purpose and meaning.
A weekend away is a fun distraction. We watched a great show, and enjoyed several of the local pubs. We got to ride on the London buses, and had great talks with our good friends and soon-to-be colleagues, Matt and Amy Smith.
I am going back to my home in the country, without the once-every-90-seconds public transport, without the coffee shops on every corner, or the sidewalks with people, used gum, pigeon poop and cigarette butts. It will be a little sad, but mostly good.