COFFEE SHOP MUSINGS : When Expectations Are Rearranged


Last night I had to rearrange my expectations for what I thought would be a productive evening of photo editing at a coffee shop. And instead of being upset, I'm so glad. I needed to reflect. I needed that mind refresh. For the first time in a while, I actually sat there and mused about life. Today, I'm sharing a peek into those reveries.

It might be humid and rainy outside. But what else can be expected for spring? My latte may have a pretty latte-art design and it may just taste delicious. There may be a guy sitting in the chair directly across the room from me who glances over one too many times. We may or may not have made eye contact over three times. And even though these things are typical, well except the awkward guy, of a visit to a Midwest coffee shop, my mood is different than normal. And I’m keenly aware of my surroundings.

People pass to and fro with heavy backpacks on their shoulders and some look in wistfully. Several give in and enter; others make mental notes to come back one day. Coffee in porcelain mugs are always prone to cooling off more quickly, but the Instagrams that can be made from them are worth it, apparently. We wear cardigans and check our phones while waiting in line. I am reminded that the Royals have their opening game of the season thanks to the girl who walked in proudly wearing a jersey. And I like it that these hard chairs are so well worn…err loved…because I can put my foot up on them and no one will care.

When I’m away from home and away from my bedroom-office, there’s time to observe these types of things. There’s opportunity to muse and I wonder why I don’t let myself do so more often. Is it fruitless or, somehow, can this sort of thinking be valuable over time? Can’t something be said for slowing down and noticing the life that surrounds each of us? After all, isn’t this how most books are authored, how most hair-brained ideas are thought, and where many influential conversations take place? Coffee shops. The meeting place for all with atmospheres ever facilitating contemplation and reprieve.

The things we do – all of us – it’s all quite peculiar, really.  I mean if you really stop and think about it, people are quite interesting. I find myself wondering what they’re thinking, what their disappointments have been and what their dreams are. The soccer mom seems flustered and the guy in the suit at the picnic table has some important document in his hands, while the guy from across the room takes another sweeping glance. The main Barista quizzes the other employee on classical music theory as he cleans the glasses and wipes the counters for the fifth time. Also, it seems like most people are pretty bad at parallel parking. When they look inside, can they see that I’m locking eyes with them or is the glare saving my potential for embarrassment?

Instead of doing more, maybe we need to do less. Just a few times. I love structure and I love having a full schedule – it keeps me motivated and excited for life. And helps with combating that stir crazy feeling. But I’m not the first to say that it’s okay to say no to everything and yes to doing nothing for an hour, or two, or several and that doing so may actually prove more beneficial in the long run. And just like that, the latte is gone and my mind is refreshed and engaged anew. I am grateful.

Today finds me doing a few more photography projects before ending my trip to the lovely Kansas City, Missouri. And I'm excited to see how they turn out and sharing them with you in the near future!

In the meantime, what are your favorite things to do in a coffee shop?


--Tara M.