Just In Time

Maybe a second before the end I saw through it


And that was that. Sitting at a cafe (of course), I had just moved from the shade into the sunshine and I saw it. Call it a “pink beam” from on high or a still, small voice. Whatever you like, I sat there and the sun leached into the bones of my face, bringing back memories of Fort Bragg or Mendocino, where it seems to always be cold and foggy (when I am there) and yet when the sun comes through and the wind dies down even for a moment the cliffs are glorious. That’s how I felt, just now, though I feared everything was falling apart, or maybe I just feared everything.

Trying to write about a certain thing that I almost can’t put a finger on. Sitting at a cafe, doing what? Waiting…no. Being present…maybe, but for something. Being present for others to…what, to see? No, no, more than that. Being present for others to own, with their eyes, perhaps. Has to be something here. Like believing in God — how can you define it. You can’t. You can only go around lying about it in your efforts to prove something to others. So I go around lying about why I’m at a cafe and what I ultimately hope to get out of it…connection. And connection can only be real if one is authentic because otherwise it’s a false connection. So, I put my face in my hands, partly because the sun is now too hot, and partly because I’m overwhelmed by the presence of others I’d like to know more of but am afraid to make any advance towards. Authentically hopeless.

Coming here to the cafe today I told myself any chance interaction with others would be 100% based upon their interest in me. Sure I could grease the skids with a smile, a look or a comment, but all would be in their hands. And I have partly succeeded. I’ve maintained that intention in my mind and held to it in my mind so, though I feel the aforementioned hopelessness it’s a hopelessness of acceptance, and instead of just being frustrated with myself I write. And eat, and look around, and parse my life, and check email, text, edit a photo, look for a hotel for a family trip to Europe in summer.

I leave the cafe feeling down about each of the people who were interesting to me to whom I did not speak. People I assume wouldn’t want to talk with me. And I’m back in my car, where one of my favorite songs comes on, Crazy Beautiful Life, with the line “the more you let go the more you get.” That’s what I tried to do today, let others approach me, let go of intention, any effort approach anybody else for any reason. Attempted that and still felt inadequate and lonely.

But wait. I am letting go. I do feel a little different watching the wind and the clouds. Hearing more songs come on while I type away in my car. I feel partially released from time. It’s probably the writing, the intention of letting others approach me and letting go myself. I’m partially free! The sun comes and goes, people pass. I’m alone and yet surrounded across time by impending kid pickup, work to be done, a full belly of avocado and salmon toast. The people I saw, I saw, and I slowly began to make my affect less intense, less demanding, more relaxed. And even though no one seemed to approach me, still I was actually there with others.

This is cafe culture. No certain outcome. No definite connection, usually. And still you evolve as a person and you enjoy your time, coming and going.