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A friday tale

Posted in random with tags , , , on February 21, 2014 by afuntanilla

If you know me, then you KNOW how much I love coffee. Not just the drink, but the entire experience of it. It’s  never just coffee. A few months ago, I heard a phrase by one of the co-owners of Equator Coffee. She said, “Coffee is a connector”. And it’s true. It is.

Here’s one such story from today. For much of the past 2 years, I go to Peets Coffee every morning for a small cup on the way to work. During this course of time, I usually arrived there at about 630am. When I arrived around that time, I would see 2 women who were there together. I would either see them in line, at the “condiment” area fixing their coffee or sitting, talking, enjoying their morning sips. By their attire, I surmised they had come to Peets after their gym workout, since the gym is across the street. They look the same every day…in post workout clothes. I am guessing they are in their late 50’s and I was just sort of curious about them. One day, I struck up a brief conversation while we were in line. They told me they go to the gym every day together and going to Peets afterwards is their “treat.” They meet each other at the gym and the morning is theirs to hang out. I applauded them for getting up so early every day to go work out! I think they meet at 5-530 at the gym! 2 friends with a routine. I liked it. They asked about me….always on my way to work.

So, after that conversation, when we would see each, we would always wave or smile. We had connected. One day last fall, they were in line in front of me and as they approached the counter to order, I went with them and told the barista I would like to buy their coffee. They were happily shocked and thanked me. Warmth all around. I just wanted to. We connected more. A bit more conversation.

Well, since the beginning of January, I no longer arrive at Peets around 630am. I arrive earlier now, around 530am. So, I miss them. My 2 steady acquaintances…I no longer see them out and about doing their thing….I noticed that I missed them both literally and figuratively.

Well, this morning for the first time all year, I decided to sleep in an hour and thus, I arrived at Peets around 630am. And, there they were at the condiment area fixing their morning brew. I opened the door and smiles and waves all around. Nice.

I got in line to order. I was a few people back when I saw one of the ladies approach the front counter and have a quiet, brief conversation with the barista. Strange, I thought….i wonder what she is saying…maybe telling them they need more Half-n-Half….

So, I’m now at the counter ready to order my small coffee and oatmeal and the barista rings up the order and tell me the amount. Then, she corrects herself and says, “oh, wait…that’s not correct, those ladies are paying for your coffee..”

Coffee…the great connector.

I was but a witness

Posted in random with tags , , on January 12, 2011 by afuntanilla

Walking in to Starbucks, I wasn’t feeling quite right; I had not eaten well and the icy, snowy conditions of the city had gotten me all off balance. I grabbed some mixed nuts along with the tall coffee and scanned the room for a place to sit. Fat Chance. Ansley Mall location is one of the busiest in the Atlanta area for Starbucks. Add in a snow day when nothing else is open and finding an open table is just not gonna happen. So, I walked outside and sat at an empty table. 34 degrees didn’t feel too bad earlier when I had run to and from work, but sitting in it now was not too fun. I rose and peeked inside; nope, no available tables or even a chair.

After just a few more minutes, two guys exited and I figured they had to have just vacated a table. I jumped up, made my move inside and secured an empty table. YAY. So, there I sat with my coffee, New York Times, & bag of mixed nuts. My body was still trying to get settled. I began reading some work research and occasionally I glanced up. When I did, I noticed the table in front of me to my left. At first, I wasn’t sure if the two individuals were men or women. They both had been heavily clothed; one had their head held down and was simply sitting there and the other was turned sideways with a large scarf around the neck. After watching them for a few moments, I saw they were women. The one who had her head down was intermittently sleeping and every now and again would open her eyes and pretend to read the paper in front of her. When I saw her eyes, I saw absolute fatigue, utter exhaustion. She was also shivering. Shivering as if she had been cold for days rather than just now coming in from the outside. You and I don’t know that kind of shivering and I pray we never do.

I caught a glimpse of the other ones’ eyes; soft, young. She had been sitting very still while reading the newspaper. There were no coffee cups or other pieces of evidence they had actually purchased anything. Obviously, they came in seeking shelter from the bone-chilling, wicked weather. Looking around the room, people were using their laptops, playing cards, conversing…and I wondered how many others noticed these two ladies. I thought of how I almost didn’t notice them. My thoughts drifted to where I would go when I left Starbucks; I was going to dinner across the street and then going home to my warm house. I wondered where they would go. Did they know where they were headed after the early 5:30pm coffee shop closing?

As I prepared to leave, I first went to their table and asked, “Can I get y’all some hot chocolate or something?” Immediately, they both looked up at me, smiled and said, “oh, yes, Thank you.” Me; “Or coffee, do you want coffee?” The ladies, brighter, “Oh, Yes, Coffee. Thank you so much” Me; “ok. I will get y’all some coffee.”

I walked up to the counter and ordered 2 grande coffees. As I was waiting, I reached into my pocket and pulled out two $20 bills. I grabbed a coffee and a $20 bill in each hand and went back to their table. I set the coffee and the money on the table and said, “this is for you. take care of yourselves.” They looked at me and smiled big. Then, they each gave me a hug and said “thank you.” “God bless”, I said “take care of yourself.”

I walked out. I was half-smiling. So shaken was I, so touched was I, I nearly burst into tears.