It has been raining a lot lately. Not that I’m complaining. I’m writing this from the comforts of an air-conditioned cafe overlooking the pitter patter on the sidewalks, safely separated by a thick glass panel that is letting in as much natural light that it possibly can on this gloomy day. It could be humid or really cooling out there right now, but I guess I’ll never find out.
My coffee is served, a piccolo latte that packs twice the punch of its more popular bigger brother, but as are most espresso drinks -the smaller, the stronger. I’m not sure if it’s the best choice at 6PM; but the number of data and charts that needs my attention assure me that it’s necessary.
I look across the table and see a familiar face equally focused at work. Here we are, past official working hours, leaving our offices for another seat equipped with WiFi and a dose of caffeine by our sides. Different, but all the same. We tell ourselves October will be over soon enough, and November will be kinder (it isn’t). We dare not forecast December.
My gaze shifts towards the view outside, as I watch people scuffling pass quickly through the rain – some with umbrellas, and some wishing they have one. The old man selling snacks by the roadside since midday has not budged. His day has not yet come to an end, too. He smiles and nods at the passersby, but the rain seem to have created a veil of indifference in the air, as people in corporate suits and shiny (now wet) black shoes continue to mind their own business.
It’s not very different in here too. Some of us are waiting out the rain and traffic, our eyes locked to all kinds of screens, ears closed with listening devices, conversation only when necessary. We’ll soon finish another task, and then begin another. We slot in everything in calendars, we make time because it’s the right thing to do but we’re never really present. We postpone rest, connection, conversation. And then we wonder what went wrong.
I look across the table, and she gestures to ask if I want another cup of coffee. I shake my head politely, and point at my water bottle because conversation has been muffled by earphones. Hers, or mine? Then again, what difference does it make?
Like the thin sheet of glass that separates us from the sidewalks; you’re never really quite sure who’s looking in or looking out.