In this cafe people wander in and out. The sun is pleased today and it's warmth is telling folks to be outside. So they obey. They filter in and out with steaming cups because they do not trust the sun in this town. It's so warm inside now that a barista has left the front door open. It soon closes with each pass of entrance /exit.
Those who remain inside are mostly tethered to their devices. Orwell would love this. The overweight position themselves in overstuffed chairs to see their small screens. Here and there two people sit face to face and talk. It is so quiet, save the whirrrr of an espresso machine, that any conversation is audible...there for the taking.
Real estate prices...what she said...who invited whom to sit where....what "I knew" what "I think" about this one's marriage, and what "I do not"...your choice.
I enter the rest room, a small dark, flowery cubicle that smells like a woman I knew in the 1970s. That night, when she put her hair up so she could try to let it down comes back to me with the smell of the soap. All these years later and I have not forgotten her, her pain, her touch, the feel of that night which has chosen to revisit me because nature calls.
Like those around me I visit other places through my laptop. This is the state of the art and has certainly become the art of the state. I'm following other people's conversations on social media while I go to the racetrack in New York, New Jersey, and Ontario, Canada. Isn't this what I always wanted?
Now and then something timeless enters my field of vision. A beaded Indian belt, a banana, a beautiful figure, a biscotti, a dragonfly.
But here's the worst part, my internal dialogue has become audible. Over my shoulder, a young woman is intrigued by the fact that I seem to be talking to myself. My horse has just run a bad second, and I'm muttering about the fact that I didn't account for it. Something like an "oh, so that's how it is..." attitude. She strains to see horses running and numbers on my screen. The color of it all is seductive. I must make an effort to realize that I am not at the track. I'm inside everyone's Saturday morning. There is much less anguish and uncertainty here. There is also a good deal less risk and therefore not much spontaneous joy.
Right about now I crave the smell of horses. The only way I'll come close to anything like that is to go outside myself. Tomorrow will rain, so there is no choice here, only the sound of a few small steps.