MC: We sat a few feet apart but never made eye contact

w4m – San Francisco

Dear patrons of the Church Street Cafe,
It’s a Monday evening and you read/write/type diligently and unobtrusively with a vibe that’s part elder center, part beatnik writer convention, part poor student haven. I feel like a voyeur watching you not watching me.

Patron #1: You’re forty-something, overweight with a too-thin ‘stache; glasses low on the nose, wedding band, denim shirt layered over an Obama-superman tee; reading a graphic novel, drinking coffee and water. When you leave, the guy behind the counter says goodbye by name.

Patron #2: You’re wearing a giants cap and a brown leather jacket, cocooned in big headphones; scruffy beard and ‘stache but not cultivated enough to be hipster; drinking a ginger beer, scribbling in a Moleskin notebook, iPhone 4S lying in close reach.

Patron #3: Your glasses look like my dad’s — oversized aviators with thin gold rims — which don’t match your casual lime green tech startup hoody and slouched sprawl; youngish and Asian; reading a paperback on meditation, with a stainless thermos and mug of tea.

Patrons #4+5: You’re both older gentlemen with white hair, crisp but comfortably dressed in the muted fall colors of wine and dried leaves; playing backgammon with a travel set at the table against the front window; a handful of peanut M&Ms sit in an upturned plastic coffee cup lid.

“Ginger beer, and make it snappy!”
“Give me more of that hot stuff.” “Which one?” “The water.”

Thanks for joining me over free wifi and one nonfat latte.

Categorized as Musings


  1. Not so different here in Boston at the SOWA (S. of Washington Ave.) outdoor market, where I picked up handmade Rosemary truffle chips.

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