Two women of indeterminate age sit facing each other, alternatively lifting banana bread and porcelain cups filled with coffee to their mouths–all the while chatting. They talk of landlords, brothers, and pets. They are well known here at the S’Cup and when the head barista comes by the taller woman notices her glasses and comments on the change which turns into a short conversation about elementary school and eyesight. When the barista leaves the ladies settle back into the comfortable chitchat of people with no fixed schedule.
Beside them, in one of the comfortable chairs, a woman in her early thirties chokes back a muffin. In a moment she receives a call to which she responds, in obvious anger–"I’m not angry…if you have anything to say to me leave a message"–and hangs up. She seethes, sighs, stands and walks out the glass doors.
In the mean time a silver-haired businessman makes it his job to supervise window-washers and advises one of the servers to reprimand the two young workers for leaving phantom streaks on the windows. She nods gravely as the man makes the world work better and agrees to have have words with them–and then, takes appropriate action and promptly forgets the exchange when the man leaves.
When my turn comes to leave I pass a man on the sidewalk who, like Seymour Krim, is barely able to contain the riot in his soul. His hatred for me, inexplicable but palpable, has already dealt me a blow–even as his eyes show me that I’m not worth the momentary pleasure it would give him to have his fist fly into in my teeth. I walk by him reminded that we live in a dangerous world.
I’ve been shown also that we live in a petty world–live in an angry and lonely and misconceived nether-world–but that we live as well, in an engagingly glorious world. I have, at times, been a conspicuous part of each of these worlds–and will be again. But it is my lucky circumstance that I have a preference for the one with no fixed schedule. Time enough to notice an-other, and desire the exchange of pleasant words.
And to that end, it is my fortunate circumstance, perhaps even a luxury, that I understand that it is as much a crime to fail to accept the givenness of my life, as it is to fail to try and change some of those givens.