the ties that bind

Written by Duane Scott

GENERAL EDITOR I'm a writer, nature lover, a friend, a singer (in the shower), a Cheetos lover and a Snuggie hater. And God and I are buddies.

August 25, 2011

Engrossed in my book, I fail to notice the swarm of people around me, as they unburden their loads of books onto the nearby tables while precariously trying not to spill their coffee.

Never leaving the world of fiction, I subconsciously notice the aroma of the deep roast of coffee mingled with the occasional whiff of danishes and pastries. Senses heightened, I delve deeper into the pages of the hardcover book I’m reading.

Eyes hardly glancing from the page, I reach methodically for my coffee, touching it to my lips. It isn’t until some time later that I lift my cup for another swallow and  notice I have ran out. I mentally note the page I am on and at the same time, transport myself from the wild tales of the ocean, the sunken trip, and the occasional gunfight back to reality.

The real world isn’t so bad either, I note, drinking in the romance and charisma of the Barnes and Nobles coffee shop. Silently reading, many people sit around me lost in various worlds probably like the one I had abruptly been interrupted from.

Instead of complaining loudly, I began to view the faces of the people around me. Against the far wall sits an older man, his scarf still hanging loosely around his neck, although his coat hangs on the chair next to him. Adjacent to him perches a small high-society lady, her face wrinkled as though she is puzzled by the delicacy cookbook she is reading, probably preparing herself to impress the other ladies at her upcoming tea party. A college kid is clearly doing research, judging by the stack of  “how-to” books situated next to him. A middle aged couple glances through travel books, dreaming of Italy and the possibility of rekindling their love for each other on a needed getaway. Another old man, reading a history book, crosses his legs, causing his pant bottoms to pull up so high it exposes his white, hairless leg.

Each person is unique, and yet I feel a kinship toward each of them. Not a word has been spoken between us, but I catch the eye of many of them and they smile pleasantly back through glassy eyes. They won’t remember me. But I feel like I know them. After all, we all love books. We all love coffee. These are my people–even the guy whose pant leg has crawled up even further, his ghostly leg blinding the eyes of anyone daring enough to stare at it.

What is the reason for this post? Would you be surprised if I were to tell you I don’t know?  But then again, does everything have to have a reason? These type of questions do not exist in a coffee shop. For just a few hours, we sit there together, captivated by our books while nursing our coffees, and the bustle of life ceases…

We remember our childhood dreams.

We fantasize of places we’ll never go.

We forget the stresses of life.

We breathe.

We live.

So I guess that’s what this post is all about: Learning to truly live in the here and now. Finding companionship in a bustling world. Learning to slow down. All of these things keep us sane in this insane world.

Well, that and coffee.

-Duane Scott

21 Comments

  1. Clare & Gary

    Reading with coffee at home…wondering where my Nook is… love coffee and reading!

    Reply
    • Duane Scott

      Read, drink, repeat. 

      Good theory for life. 🙂 

      Reply
  2. Linda

    I enjoyed your details describing the people around you. Your words brought smiles. Love the Starbucks mug, too. I’m a native of Seattle, the home of Starbucks, but now living far away in a town that doesn’t have a Starbucks! Aaargh!
    Linda

    Reply
    • Sheila

      There’s a town without a Starbucks? On THIS planet? 🙂

      Reply
      • Linda

        Sheila, it’s hard to imagine, but it’s true! We don’t have a decent book store, either, but if I get in my car and drive 40 minutes, I can find a few of each. I love my small university town, though. Life is good here.

        Reply
        • Sheila Seiler Lagrand

          No wait. A university town without a Sbux OR a bookstore?

          Brave new world we’re living in….

          Reply
      • Duane Scott

        Welcome to Iowa. 🙂 

        Reply
    • Duane Scott

      Linda, what’s weird is I don’t even like Starbucks. It just happened that was what B & N’s has.

      I’m a Caribou fan! 

      Reply
  3. Chuck

    I love a good book. Coffee? Not so much. But sign me up for people watching any day! I enjoyed your thoughts and insights here, Duane. 

    Reply
  4. Sandra Heska King

    But then again, does everything have to have a reason?
    Nope, I don’t think so. Where would be the mystery?

    Reply
  5. Arnyslight

    You make we wish I was next to you reading some good biogrophy….and drinking a frapp….it’s really, really, hot down here in houston! LOL…

    Reply
    • Duane Scott

      I don’t like cold coffee drinks. 🙂 

      Reply
  6. Nikki

    My favorite place to get lost. The only place I’m able to actually concentrate and focus and be right in the moment without being distracted by the crowds around. Its a bit of an oxymoron. Thank God for coffee shops. 🙂

    Reply
    • Duane Scott

      If you’re ever in Rochester, MN, let me know. 🙂 

      Reply
  7. S. Etole

    Getting ready to select a book …

    Reply
    • Duane Scott

      Don’t pick Water for Elephants. It’s a poor excuse of a book despite what New York Bestseller list says. 

      Reply
  8. Anonymous

    don’t need to know the reason…

    Reply
  9. Eileen

    Your post reminded me of a book I read last year call Snapshot of St.Arbucks.  All the stories in the books revolve around observations in a Starbucks.  Love the unspoken feeling of kinship in coffee shops.

    Reply
    • Duane Scott

      I would love to read that book, Eileen! 

      Reply
  10. Loren Pinilis

    It’s amazing what we’ll notice if we take the time to slow down. I like to do this regularly as I’m driving. Take a look at the passers-by in their cars, the houses I pass, the kids playing…
    Good stuff.

    Reply
    • Duane Scott

      That’s a great exercise! 🙂 

      Reply

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the ties that bind

by Duane Scott time to read: 3 min
22