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Cafe Culture

One of my favorite joys in life is enjoying cafe culture.

When the weather warms and rain is nowhere to be seen, sitting at a table having lunch or sipping a cool drink has to be one of the nicest ways to spend a few hours.

Worries fade, deadlines are temporarily forgotten, errands and tasks set aside.

What little focus remains is casually spent on that favored sport: people-watching.

Now I may be sitting with family or friends, chatting about life and catching up on news (the juicier the better, of course). But from the corner of my eye, I’m watching the couple at the next table fuss and fight, argue and make up.

Is this their regular dynamic, or has there been a new development in their relationship that is putting them so easily at odds? Did she flirt with another at last night’s party? Is he slowly losing interest in her?

What about the middle-aged woman striding by, lips pursed and brows furrowed as her sullen teenaged daughter follows, whining and pouting? Will they resolve their mutual irritations before the sun goes down, or are they destined to remain in their respective corners, nursing grievances real and imagined for the foreseeable future?

I find it fascinating watching people: how they greet each other, interact, talk, sit, say goodbye. It’s a bit voyeuristic, of course, but not overly so. I don’t stare, maneuver myself to eavesdrop on conversations, or follow. I’m not a stalker.

Rather, I enjoy the little snippets of life that I capture as people parade in and out of view. They fuel my thoughts, set my mind racing down a series of trails trying to decipher likely scenarios.

This idle time spent observing fellow members of the human race is harmless, yet it feeds my imagination with myriad details.

Sometimes whiling away an hour at a table in the sunshine, enjoying a leisurely meal, is purely restorative. Recharging one’s emotional batteries.

And sometimes it’s being front row to a play on human nature, stoking my imagination and storing away details for a rainy day.

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