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Eclectic artwork festoons the muted cappuccino-colored walls of one of the local Starbucks where I find myself drifting off . . . drifting off to the sounds of light jazz, subdued conversations, steaming espresso machines, and the hum of my own thoughts. Moments ago I submitted another grad school assignment to my online course, as my entire being released a sigh of relief. My vanilla rooibos soy latte has long ago been drained dry, and the green mermaid lady on the cup stares back at me in chagrin, sorry that she couldn’t hold out for the entire experience of writing my position paper.

“It’s okay,” I tell the green mermaid. “I’m a gold star member, and I receive discounted tea refills. You will soon find yourself steaming once again with the soothing flavors of earthy tea.”

What has it come to when I find myself carrying on both sides of a discussion with an inanimate object? Oh, well. I am not going to analyze that overmuch.

Tuning into my surroundings and turning off my own stress, I’m fascinated by the discussions occurring all around me. An older, professional couple sitting next to me have been comparing hospice providers, while a younger couple across the cafe discuss music and Christianity. There is so much life in this community, albeit brief and transient. The older lady’s eyes are a dazzling blue, and she is so confident in her beauty and grace. Deep dimples come and go, as lines on her forehead express various emotions and thoughts. An ivory sweater graces her torso and is set off by a turquoise pendant. She is lovely.

And, here I sit. In my own little corner. Computer creating an effective barrier to most all intruders. Can I pull myself out of this revere to begin another grad school assignment? Grudgingly, I concede that I must. I’ve enjoyed our conversation, however, Little Green Mermaid Lady. Drinks are on me next time.

 
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