I am getting extremely fond of today’s stay in Starbucks. After claiming a small table to the front of the counter (surprisingly quite easily, I might add), I bought a grande mocha frapp. For the first time in recent memory I was asked how many mocha pumps I’d like, which apparently variated the sweetness of the drink. I asked for extra syrup (as usual, though I had to ask for more again, as by the time I got the drink it was already melty — I became selectively deaf and it was very noisy) and was bothered about stickers (which I didn’t get).
For two hours (well, I still have 30 minutes ’til the two hour mark, so I suppose it’s only been one-and-a-half), I devoured my frapp and nearly four chapters of The Hobbit.
But that isn’t the highlight. The highlight of today is the fact that three wonderful people asked to sit at my table for varying durations and reasons. The first was an elder woman who left her shopping bags on the chair opposite before queuing up. I assume she’s a mother, as the leg of a plastic robot was peeking out. The second was a woman waiting for her friends, though I only found out after she was cut mid-bite (of some type of coated pastry) by her own shrieking at the sight of her mates. Last was a male westerner claiming a seat for him and his two friends. A woman –his friend— later sat beside me, but then moved them all away when the table over was cleared out.
And now a server just took my drink. :/ I didn’t even get a picture of it –though I do have a picture of this lovely thing (my Moleskine planner) with all my diary scribbles.
I had to leave the coffee shop because that sneaky server took my alibi from me. And I also had a heart for the million and one customers looking hopelessly for seats.
Perhaps for some people, the kind of interactions I had awhile ago would have seemed negligible and uninteresting. Unremarkable.
Fortunately (and quite apparently) for me, I was practically blessed by these encounters. They weren’t particularly rewarding –aside from the somewhat shallow joy of being of hospitable service to complete strangers, but they were interesting and different. They reminded me of a lot of things
In my latter years in high school, we were tasked in our literary club to create stories about entire strangers we brushed past in malls or sat behind in restaurants. We were to eavesdrop for a bit and go along with that.
While I failed that exercise spectacularly, I did bring away a certain truth: that people are infinitely diverse, deep and certainly unfathomable at a glance. I looked at those people who sat beside me for less than a minute or for as long as twenty, and they walked away with me knowing very little still. I wasn’t Sherlock Holmes; the few observations I made fell short for my admittedly limited brand of deduction.
They could have been anyone and anything. Their story could have been tragic or funny or lovely or
I remembered a conversation/argument (as these things were wont to be) with my brother. He said: you can connect everyone in the world within six degrees. Somehow. Or approximately. And naturally that was very hard to believe (though some maths came to play).
Was it possible?
Whatever the answer may be, it was still something to pick on. Am I going to cross the paths of these random people one day, or have we already crossed? Will they cross the street the same time as I, or will they give a gift to a common acquaintance, and I
shall never know,
It’s a wonder. One of those styles to use for that rhetoric on the webbed nature of lives.
But there’s something else I remembered from high school, and this one’s the last.
Our moderator for that same club was also our third year literature teacher. And she also gave one of the more memorable assignments we’ve had. It asked something along the lines of what is your greatest fear? or maybe secret, truth.
And I wrote: a thousand years from now I won’t be remembered.
And that’s the dramatic rendition of what I did write. But it still rings true. Just as I know nothing about those people, who I may have been connected by a hundred different paths, so did they know nothing about me except for hints on my literary tastes (and the impression would have been fantasy) and clothing. I am but an individual in a veritable, consuming ocean of people. A billion and one, a million or seven. They don’t know me, and they probably won’t know me.
So no matter what I do, my achievements, personality, problems and joys –they would never be remembered or appreciated as they truly are. As they are to me.
Because to me my thoughts are important. They are an axis. If I end up as a new messiah –unlikely– I wouldn’t even be that. I would be a side note, a main theme, but not the only one, in the margins of the lives of my believers. If I write a book, or discover a theorem, then I will be remembered for everything but who I was.
I’m going off tangent. I’m about to go to that dreaded discussion of why are we even here which my hands aren’t prepared to write today. Some other day.