discretion · friendship · humor · life lessons · love · mindfulness

Observations From Starbucks – A Wednesday Olio

Sometimes you just need a venti, skim cappuccino.  Sit down, listen to the music,  silently intercept the conversational volleys around you.  Look like you’re working on your laptop while inventing stories about the people waiting in line.  ‘Not very nice of you Mim’, you say?  No worries, I reprimand myself in between thoughts.  It’s how I roll.

Redesigned logo used from 2011-present.
Redesigned logo used from 2011-present. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

OMG – that’s Helen Mirren!!  What is she doing in my neighborhood Starbucks???  She is magnificent, what a cool gravitas surrounds her as she regards a message on her iPhone with bemusement.  I swear it’s her.  I applaud my fellow humankind as we sublimate our collective desire to swarm, leaving her to be among the people.  It is interesting to me though that no one else seems to be sneaking peeks.  Wait…is she chewing gum while drinking her latte?  With her mouth open?  Helen!  Oh no she isn’t.  Yup she is.  Sticking the end of a ballpoint pen in her ear and scratching.  Her pinky isn’t raised.  I can hear her snapping her gum.  I get it – this most definitely is not a Helen Mirren sighting.  Damn – I was so sure.

Young woman in line with her shoulders slumped, hair covering her face as if she would give anything to be invisible.  She’s lovely actually, and dressed in black on a gorgeous spring day does not serve as a cloak of invisibility.  The blue lipstick doesn’t either – it actually looks like she’s been caught inflagrante delicti with a Smurf.  It’s that same blue.  I have to get this visual out of my head as soon as possible – it’s both funny and mildly gross.  And if this involves two consenting adults and no one is getting hurt…

Interesting meeting going on at the only table that seats four.  Three guys, one girl – all dressed in the new sartorial category “business casual”.  The young men are in khakis, three variations of the color beige and button down shirts – two blue, one white.  The woman wears a scarf wrapped twice around her neck in the fashionable way that conceals any spots on the front of your shirt.  Blue skirt, blue tights, flats. I look at them not looking at each other and smile – they all look so young, so intense.  I have yet to see one of them look up from their respective laptops, and I wonder why I’m so sure they know each other other than their matching outfits.  One guy gets up to get a refill and says to someone at the table – “I just texted you”.  Really?  I am inclined to sit here until they leave just to see if they acknowledge each other in real time as they move towards the door.  I’m inclined, but my time here is limited.

If a woman is standing in line and the seam in the back of her very-very-very tight skirt has gone off-center, do you tell her?  She’s got too much going on with the whole look not to care.  I think she is dressing to impress and she certainly leaves an impression.  I can’t imagine that she just threw herself together this morning. Her hair is sprayed to natural perfection (yes, it’s an oxymoron – get it?), eyelashes curled and mascara-ed, blush applied and blended right at the ‘apples’ of her cheeks as fashion magazines suggest.  I should tell her…no I can’t.  As I sit here in my chic gym clothes, I look like a really credible source to comment on the seam placement of her skirt.  Nope – I’m letting it go.

I see an older couple who work out at the gym when I do – we say a quick ‘hi’ as I begin to head out.  I look up just in time to see him kissing the top of her head as she leans her body into his.  The best takeaway from Starbucks this morning – all other thoughts just fade away and I carry their love in one hand and my coffee in the other.  Happy Wednesday everyone.


friendship · inspiration · life lessons · love · mindfulness · music

Never Forget The Little Things


I realize you may be thinking, “Of course, she would say this – she is a little thing”.  True enough, though height isn’t all it’s cracked up to be (bada boom).

I had my quarterly blood-letting this morning and got downtown early enough to stop at Starbucks.  I already took that as a good sign, for there was no traffic, my favorite guy at the parking garage came out to take my keys and we had the chance to catch up for a moment (his wife just had their second child) and the air – the air this morning was so fresh it was begging to be noticed.

When I got into Starbucks,  the woman behind the counter called out to me “Good morning sweetheart, what would make you smile today?”  Some people may not respond well to terms of affection from total strangers – I’m not one of them.  There was something in the way she said “sweetheart” that just tickled my core.  I asked for my venti, non-fat cappuccino, and told her that she had just made my day.  This prompted a conversation between her, the barista and I about the counters in the store (too high for me to reach my coffee, which gave us all a good laugh), how much better it was to greet the day instead of kvetching about its arrival (no one used the word ‘kvetching’, I’m paraphrasing here) and how one small exchange can manifest itself in a thousand ways.  This woman absolutely glowed kindness; she couldn’t hide it if she tried.  I told her and with a clap and a quick step from behind the register, we gave each other the most delicious hug we possibly could.

As I walked out, I held the door for a man trying to finagle himself inside while pulling his briefcase with one hand, texting on his Blackberry and holding The Washington Post with the other.  I wished him a “Good Morning” and clearly startled him (whether by the gesture or the words I don’t know), for I caught his paper as it began to fall to the ground.

In the doctor’s office, the receptionist told me all about her vacation, I listened to the phlebotomist tenderly complain about her new puppy who was still trying to figure out why no one wanted to play with him in the middle of the night.  You get the drift – it’s been a morning of the most sacred little things.  The moments that separate an okay day from a lovely one, the delight in extending one’s self just a tiny bit and receiving so much in return.  This isn’t even about paying it forward – it’s just about choosing warmth over isolation, a smile over an unfocused gaze, the underestimated value of spending one extra moment looking at the world around you and trying to shape it into someplace you want to live.

And as I sit here, the sun casting both warmth on my back and shadows on my keyboard, listening to Enesco’s ‘Roumanian Rhapsody No. 1’, I can’t help but feel that it is the little things that remain the most essential.  The generosity of a stranger, the pictures proudly shown by a new papa, the throw-your-head-back kind of laughter that erupts when you share joy.  Oh yeah, the coffee was extra delicious too.  In fact, that’s the way the whole day is turning out to be.  I wish that for you as well.  Happy Tuesday.