Posted by: ktzefr | February 9, 2011

Conversations in a Coffee Shop…

Chaos on the streets of Cairo plays continually on the TV at my favorite coffee shop.  People eat, chat, read, work…and occasionally look up to catch a glimpse at what’s happening on the other side of the world.  Outside the snow still covers areas that don’t get much traffic; the sky changes from gray to sunny to gray again.  Cars and people come and go to the grocery store, the book store, the bank and the gas station.  It’s a big world; it’s a small world.

When I was growing up in the hills of Kentucky the “outside” world seemed at such a great distance, unreachable… almost a fantasy.  I am still amazed at how everything goes on at once — demonstrations in Egypt, drug wars on the Mexican border, war in Afghanistan…football games, awards ceremonies in Hollywood, cruise ship excursions, holiday celebrations….  The good and the bad, the interesting and the inane, all connected in a sort of disconnected way.

I come here two or three times a week to get coffee or lunch or gelato.   Sometimes I run into someone I know and we have coffee or lunch together.  Some people come to read and eat alone.  Others bring laptops and do work.  One day I sat at a table next to two people and listened to one of them being interviewed for a job.   A variety of business cards and announcements and advertisements are tacked to the bulletin board; a tutor is offering services in the student’s home or at the coffee shop.

If you’re a good listener, you can pick up all kinds of info (good, bad, facts and falsehoods) at coffee shops.  Gems from conversations had or overheard at my most recent outing — a long discussion of racism and religion in East Texas in the 1960s and now; mad cow disease (is this still a big concern?); the snows of winters past.  One young man was reading a book on classic French cooking and the two elderly women sitting at the table next to me were trying to converse in Spanish.  They must have been taking a beginning Spanish class as they each sat with coffee in one hand and a textbook in the other.  They spent a good 10 minutes trying to figure out the meaning of mas and if one could use mucho mas mejor (much more better) in a sentence.  I figured the two must be planning a girls trip.

This, of course, got me to daydreaming about other places and possibilities and it was easy to tune out the goings-on around me.  But the goings-on still keep going on…




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