the view from under the invisibility cloak…

Posted by on Jun 19, 2013 in perspective | 0 comments

There is something anonymous about sitting alone in a cafe, kind of like you are hiding underneath a Hogwarts invisibility cloak. Or at least that is what it seemed like today as I factored and figured my way through 30 pages of math problems in the corner of the D& W cafe. I wasn’t trying to listen in to the conversations around me, but subconsciously, bits and pieces trickled in between the numbers.

There were the two personal trainers, decked out in yoga pants and running shoes, commiserating about a common thorn in their side – a boss, perhaps or a fellow trainer – either way, someone who seemed to spiteful and self-esteem crushing. They sat sipping ice water out of plastic Starbucks cups, trying out ideas on each other – “This is how I tell my clients to lift…” “I’m thinking of advertising my services on a t-shirt, what do you think?” – and built scaffolding around each other’s confidence – “You have such great ideas!” “He is not who gives you your worth”. Insecurities softened by the words batted back and forth until they had to go, move on to their next client, with the promise to talk again soon.

Then a trio of twenty-somethings came in, wearing the uniform of the entry-level employee – ill-fitting suit jackets, logo polo shirts, long lanyards peeking out of khaki pockets. They gobbled down their family sized portions of mashed potatoes and meatloaf, shouting war stories from work and play. Stories of falling asleep on the toilet while reading Reddit and waking up hours later with legs of lead…another of the 25 minutes spent with a client, an Army vet, who spun tales and life lessons for the grateful kid. They slammed high fives and laughed loudly, stroking egos and throwing around innuendos like a 90 mile per hour fastball right at the gut. “This is a good day”, one stated bluntly, and you could tell he probably believed every day was a good day as he sauntered out of the cafe.

Two interactions that took place in the same booth, but couldn’t have been more different – separated by gender and age,  introspection and self-deprecation, ego and the lack thereof.

The table was finally quiet, but it was time for me to leave. I folded up my invisibility cloak up neatly and packed it away for another day, wondering what messages I send when I sit in a cafe, talking loudly next to a table for one.

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