Sunday, January 20, 2008

604. The secret

I believe I’ve cracked the secret to getting a seat at my local Starbucks. Here I lounge at 8:00AM while most of the Upper West Side is asleep, drinking good coffee and eating a stale bagel. (I should have stuck to the overpriced madeleines.) There are even some empty spots on the other side of the non-fat-milk-and-Splenda bar. (That it’s 20 degrees outside might also contribute to the lack of patrons). At surrounding tables are two college students doing homework, a man staring out the window, another who appears to be writing a letter, and a couple in neighboring comfy chairs, reading books rather than the expected sprawling layers of The New York Times, who occasionally reach out and stroke each other’s hands. I can’t see titles, but the books are hardcover and look serious.

Yesterday at services a woman got an aliyah in honor of her 10st birthday. 101! It boggles the mind. Did she last the century because of intervals of sitting and reflecting in coffee shops, or did she keep moving and never waste a second? A combination, I like to imagine (which gives me some hope of reaching the late 2000s). The rabbi recounted a story: Last week this woman went to the doctor, who pronounced her healthy. And she replied, “Thanks—but, you know, you’re not looking too good yourself.” I want to be her when I grow up.

9:12AM: Every seat is filled. I think I’ll grab my coffee and go back home to sit idly without having to hear a dozen overlapping conversations and Frank Sinatra singing “Strangers In The Night” into my left ear.

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