Thursday, October 30, 2008

coffee shop

(on how I think.)

The man in front of me (everyone is in front of me, I sit in the rear at the bar) wears an orange shirt. He is older, but cool. I know this to be true because he bikes (note right pant leg tucked into sock), shaves his head, and has checked both his gmail and facebook accounts thus far. He sits with a woman ("a writer") (overheard from conversation with another patron, a "'fiction' non-fiction writer"), who is looking quizzically at her book. It also seems that she knit her sweater (chenille, mock-turtle, multi-colored yarn).

At the table in front of this cool older couple is a kid, maybe my age, though it looks like he is graying. He is working on something very intently at his computer. I know this to be true because he has not once looked up at me, though I keep waiting for him to admire my cafe-beauty (selfish, we are).

In the middle of the room, sitting alone with a cup of tea and a wedding band, is an older Indian man. He occasionally watches the street, occasionally the tv mounted on the wall (CNN). He is tapping his foot (right) to the beat of the music.

And Along the Far Wall--
Another older man (it is late! shouldn't all the old people be at home? There is yet hope for my future!), documents open in much profusion on his laptop, keeps turning his head to an awkward angle to watch the tv (CNN reaction to The Infomercial).

There was a family of four on the lounge chairs at the front of the room when I walked in, playing trivial pursuit. Very beautiful. Kids my age, too.

The barista is behind me, standing unseen at the bar. She is "an actress." She has red hair (dyed), bangs, and wide hips.

(A commercial for Iron Gym cannot be that interesting!)

-and this is the part where I analyze the above.-
As I was sitting here reading Derech Hashem/The Way of God (yes, intelligent as well!)... well, I don't know how to continue that sentence without it sounding more pretentious than it does. R' Moshe Chaim Luzatto writes in the introduction:

"When an individual is confronted by many details and does not know how they relate to one another or their true place in a general system, then his inquisitive intellect is given nothing more than a difficult unsatisfying burden. He may struggle with it, but he will tire and grow weary long before he attains any gratification. Each detail will arouse his curiosity, but not having access to the concept as a whole, he will remain frustrated.

"If one wishes to understand something, it is therefore very important that he be aware of other things associated with it as well as its place among them. Without this, one's longing for truth will be frustrated and he will be pained by his unsatisfied desire.

"The exact opposite is true when one knows something in relation to its context. Since he sees it within its framework, he can go on to grasp other concepts associated with it, and his success will bring him pleasure and elation."

Thus, I come to the cafe to observe, to try to understand something of the human condition, to see how people relate to each other, to this space, and this bit of the world.

This being that I may attempt an understanding of human life--how it is we live this life.

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