Monday, February 10, 2003

Sweet Inspiration: A Cafe

The man sat there and simply watched and allowed the experience to wash over him. There were several sources of stimulation: traffic on the streets, people walking on the sidewalk right in front of him, chatter of patrons inside the coffee shop, violins dancing in some classical piece playing on the stereo, the sight of his own hands as they tapped away on his laptop, brown fingers contrasting against the bright blue cuffs of his dress shirt. A golden tram was rumbling past, making the kind of music that simply erupts in a moment without warning or expectation. Two men with goatees, in their late thirties, walked past the picture windows, swinging their arms as if in accord with the mysterious melody of the outside world.

The café itself was full of sweet aromas of cakes and coffee. The interior was colored yellow with green and mustard chairs, festive without striving to be dramatic. Bold colors definitely, dark blues and gold and greens. A poker game in the background proceeded with harmless and good-natured outbursts of laughs and groans as the men deluded themselves as being winners or losers. A spiky haired young man walked by, giving the man the stare, frown and roll of the eye. He was obviously parading his plumage and considered the attention, or perceived attention, from the older man sitting by himself at the window, worth acknowledging only with a semi exasperated roll of the eyes.

The man sat and perhaps even smiled to himself. His fingers seemed to keep tapping on the laptop. And as if in immediate compensation to the moment just passed, another young man walked by the picture window and offered a quick, self-conscious smile as he darted away, never to be seen again.

Never to be seen again. What did that mean?, the man begin to muse. This moment, this moment. Its gone before it is even fully grasped. And yet, I hold on, hoping to build my sense of self in this, no wait that, no, no, well, it’s gone way back now. But whereas then, I was confused, now I’m exasperated and I can already see myself going back home in despair and total frustration if I cannot keep track of my identity simply because the moments are passing by me too quickly.

Which is it then? Happy, sad, upset, angry, frustrated or something else? Or all of them? Or, none of them? And does it really matter then? That I yearn to define myself based on a mindstream that is already much too stale to be even worth acknowledging?

The man stopped again. His cell-phone stared at him, a reminder that nobody from his group had shown up to this meeting. But in effect, that had been his unstated expectation anyway. When he had called this group together, he was simply feeling euphoria and a sense of wonder at what had transpired all day yesterday. And in that moment of enthrallment he had reached out to what he hoped would be like-minded folks, who would understand, ‘get-it’ and want to know more about his experience. Of course, he realized that this could simply not be explained to them or anyone else. Because the moment he did try to, it would lose its very essence, for the very idea of an event such as becoming “The Now” cannot be experienced outside of the Now. To talk about the Now is to lose the Now. Unless, of course, it is talk about the Now in the Now and as the Now.