A Morning in A Coffee Shop

I was sitting in the corner of the coffee shop
as I usually do on weekend mornings.
I had my coffee in front of me, steaming,
and was reading what I usually read at these hours.
Then a man walked in, my age, early 30’s, typical haircut,
rocking a plaid collared shirt with khaki shorts, flip-flops and a satchel.
Just another emblematic victim of the de-manliness
of culture these days, I thought to myself.
Inside his satchel I could only guess what was inside,
probably a laptop, maybe a theology book and the NY Times.
He looked like a man whose been lied to often.
He walks up to the counter, clasps his unsoiled hands together
and with a polite smile, asks for a latte with an espresso shot.
Then he apologized for being a burden–
I guess for asking for that pesky espresso shot.
As the clerk turned away to make his masculine drink,
the plaid-clad fellow looked my direction
and turned away quickly as we made eye contact.
Studying him for a minute I presumed he’d had a name like Philip.
Now Philip, you can tell, doesn’t own a pair of work boots.
Never really had to dig dirt out of his fingernails.
Never lifted a barbell in the gym. Never read Bukowski or Steinbeck.
Wouldn’t touch Nietzsche with a ten foot pole
and has never dabbled in a little Schopenhauer.
Probably has never been punched in the face
or had a good hangover to work through, either.
His tender skin was scarless, like his life, like his character.
He was most likely a vegan who had a lot of friends of the opposite sex.
And if I were to bet, I’d say he probably had Michael Bublé playing
full blast in his Geo Tracker on the way to the coffee shop this morning.
He looked at me again from his peripheral eye-glass eyes.
By this time I was guessing that Philip was trying to decipher what was on my shirt.
See, I wasn’t dressed like Philip.
This particular morning I wore dark grey jeans,
a black shirt with three distinct words on the front and a black hat.
He looked at me as a type of shadow figure in the corner. I didn’t mind.
Now don’t get me wrong, Philip was an intelligent man.
But his intelligence was contained within boundaries.
Meaning, he didn’t sway too far from popular opinions or official narratives.
He obeys authority figures without hesitation
and usually takes a side when a futile political debate ensues.
Philip led a kind of life, never really diverting from a pattern,
or his belief system, or his routine.
He finds satisfaction in his little dogmas and is not too keen
about certain truths that don’t unite with his way of thinking.
He is a good man, decent, full of all of the mutterings of yesterday,
all the conditionings and rubbish that accumulated over a comfy life.
He hasn’t ruffled too many feathers or asked too many questions.
And since Philip finds contentment in the false virtue of certainty
he is willing to give away a lot of himself to obtain it.
I took the last sip of my coffee, grabbed my book and headed toward the door.
Philip nonchalantly studied the words on my shirt as I walked by him.
The corner of his studious eyes were desperately trying to make sense of them.
He moved to the side and gave me a look of bewilderment
And I nodded my head to him as I walked out.
When I looked back, Philip was still looking at me.
I think he was rather relieved that the shadow figure in the corner,
the dissident,
the heretic,
someone unlike himself,
finally left the coffee shop.
All is as it was.


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