Spying at Starbucks

John enters slouched over, his backpack bouncing. His shirt displays an emblem I can’t read, but it’s clean. Almost seems pressed—better than mine.

He comes in daily for a coffee sample. The staff doesn’t know anything about him except that he might have a mental problem. Still they serve him and he’s happy. As soon as he empties his partial cup, he stalks out—head leading his small frame, walking to his next destination.

An employee takes his lunch hour at a table across from me. His meal consists of a blue can of tuna, (maybe albacore) that he picks at while he reads a red-colored book. It’s not a new title. I’m curious and think of asking him. Is it The Great Gatsby? It’s too small for Moby Dick or Les Miserable. Perhaps it’s an old accounting book he saved from a college education he never finished.

He’s close to my age and wears no ring. I wonder why a man my age works here? What is his life like? Where does he spend Christmas?

Another man sits in the comfy purple chair adjacent to me. He wears a jacket with black with red stitching—possibly a motorcycle emblem. Maybe he rides.  It’s doubtful with the shoes he’s wearing. They are black with lime green accents. His white socks rise up under clean blue jeans.

I’m people watching. I’m people wondering. What are their lives like? If I knew them, would they be my friends?

Probably. I once followed someone home from SAMs because I wanted to be their friend. I lost them on a turn. My teenage son was glad. My husband told me, “Pauline, you can’t be friends with everyone!”

But I can care about everyone. I can wonder. I can pray.

I’m going to try my hand at fiction soon. I need characters, so I spy on people.

I see a man staring at me. Studying. Wondering. When he notices that I notice, he looks away

I think he’s a writer, too.


2 Comments on "Spying at Starbucks"

  1. Carey says:

    Or, the man staring at you, was “checking you out”.

  2. Pauline Hylton says:

    Perhaps, however I’d just worked out and was definitely not at my best:)

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