For the longest time after I quit my job and most of my friends fled this too-expensive-to-live-in-state, I bounced around from coffee shop to coffee shop, working a few hours here, a few hours there, and never feeling entirely at home.
I loved the coffee and the ambiance, the wifi was usually good and free, and I had few if any complaints about the tables or chairs.
What I lacked was friendship.
Coffee shops are essentially a meeting place for friends. They gather around hot drinks to share gossip and news, to chat about silly inane things, or to have deep conversations held in hushed tones too low to hear over the general hustle and bustle. For sure there are also plenty of people who huddle behind their laptops working feverishly, hoping no one will call them on their abusive use of the table space, but the real function of a coffee shop is to stop time so friends can connect between the racing minutes of their day.
For the longest time I had no such friends.
My friends were inside the computer, and while I technically was hanging out with them in the coffee shop, it wasn’t enough for me.
I don’t know what possessed me – gregarious and outgoing when at ease, but shy beyond belief when out of my element – to decide to check out the mom’s group at my daughter’s preschool, but the morning of the first meeting arrived and, because Egmos* wasn’t able to come up with a good reason not to go, I pushed the door open and stepped into the group of moms milling around the breakfast buffet.
I made one connection that day. The next time I went, I made another.There were days when I didn’t hang out with anyone and days when I discovered new kindred spirits.
By the end of that year I had signed up to be on the steering committee of the group. Even more importantly I had a host of new friends, friends who would spot me at my table at the coffee shop and would stop to chat for a minute.
At first I almost resented these interruptions of my work, and then I grew to love them.
A wave, a smile, and a nod towards the empty chair in front of me, and my friend would slide into the seat, putting down the coffee, eyes shining and full of stories. I’d close my laptop and pick up my own cup, and for a blessed moment, I’d be connected to someone real, someone there, someone who, despite living their very different life, could utterly relate to mine.
These coffee moments have given me back a piece of who I was in college. For a moment, it’s not about the kids, the work, the husband. For that instant it’s about us, sharing ideas, thoughts, or stories about our days, just being in the moment, just being alive and feeding our souls from the connection.
The impromptu coffee dates are never very long, but they fill my mornings with love. After the visitor of the day has moved on to the rest of her chores and errands, I open up my laptop, and, feeling a bit more alive, a bit more in touch with myself, I can dive back into my work, smile playing on my lips.
This post was inspired by the second Kick In The Blog prompt “What do you love to do?” Clearly there are a lot of other things I love to do, but this year, I’ve really savored these short coffee moments. These friends have been a saving grace in the middle of a lot of challenges – my little islands of normalcy in the middle of the chaos.
If you’re ever in a blogging rut or in need of a little bloggy inspiration, I hope you’ll stop by Kick In The Blog to see what prompts I’ve posted.
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