A Sky, Conflicted

Date & Time:
Thursday, November 6, 8:18am. It feels more like 5am. My mind is cloudy and coffee isn’t helping clear the fog.

The local Starbucks. I came here earlier this morning to get some work done and was surprised to find, upon entering the store, that Starbucks’ “Christmas-mode” was in full force. I double-checked the date on my phone to confirm that it was, in fact, November 6, and then tried to reconcile this with the sound of “O Holy Night” playing on the speakers and red coffee cups everywhere.

I always forget how this Starbucks comes alive just after 8am; packed with commuters in a rush to catch the bus and chatty groups of women who appear – noisily and all dressed in the same jeans-and-booties combo – from offices nearby. I’ve usually left – fully-caffeinated and with multiple emails sent – by this time, but today I experience the overwhelming, frantic energy radiating from this crowd of coffee-craving customers.

I can’t get any work done because I’m nosy and curious and instead of focusing on the document on my computer screen I’m trying to listen in on my neighbors’ conversations. There is an inverse relationship between my productivity and the level of good people-watching in any space. I often want to tweet something #overheard but then I remind myself to consider respecting people’s privacy.

Foggy. Foggier than yesterday; the kind of fog that renders the entirety of the Salesforce Tower invisible. Good thing I’m outfitted appropriately: in a full-on groutfit, grey sweatpants and a grey jacket, with a dress in my backpack for when I get to the office. Sweatpants make bus commutes more comfortable, that’s just a fact. I don’t make the rules.

Listening to:
Nothing. Well- Starbucks’ Christmas playlist, I guess. Earlier this morning I spent (way too much) time lying in bed listening to various renditions of “Amazing Grace” because I was sad and felt the need to amplify my already-emotional state with an incredibly beautiful song. I probably could have used something a little more enthusiastic and pump-up-y, but I’m not always my own best friend.

Later this evening:
I walked the few blocks home from the bus stop as the sun was setting. I stopped for a long while outside my door to stare up at the sky. Everything felt hazy and weird: my brain, the sky. Like neither of them could make up their minds: am I colorful or tired? Half the sky was shrouded in fog and the rest brilliant puffs of pink.

I watched traffic pass on the freeway to my right and noticed how telephone wires framed the still-translucent moon. At the bottom of my street bike commuters in hats and gloves dodged UPS trucks making their way in and out of the warehouse garage. I love cities during rush hour; the purposeful energy of the throngs of people walking and biking and standing on buses; everyone looking like they have somewhere to be, someone to go home to. When I’m feeling sad or hopeless I’m reassured by the sight of these commuters, like their purpose gives me purpose. In those moments I like to believe – wish, even – that everyone is just a few blocks away from a safe home and a warm meal and hugs from family.





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