Saturday May 22, 2004
The private cacophony of my local Starbucks surrounded me with a background noise of solitude as I reached for my discman. I sat unemployed in corporate America and sought an employment of a different sort. The slender room was insulated with business suits and stay-at-home moms. Financial advice and child raising soccer stories reflected off the ceilings and the standard maroon and orangish-yellow walls directly into my brain. Placing my headphones comfortably over and around my light brown hair, I engulfed my ears physically and musically, completely deleting the twenty on-going conversations from my further review. I covered my large pizza sized table with my biblical necessities: pencil: angled so to prevent rolling, discman: anti-skip protection activated, notebook: open to blank page, Bible: open to the Gospel of John, and coffee: far too hot.
I read completely uninterrupted and not distracted for roughly two minutes. During the first half of the third minute, while I was underlining a verse that I would probably not read again for five years, a suited and Wall Street journal toting, silver haired, tall double shot latte no skim gentlemen tapped my shoulder and awkwardly gave me the Mickey Mouse club wave.
My peace and solitude was thoroughly invaded, so I presently removed my headphones. “Hi,” I said, voice cracking in an ‘I have been silent for too long’ kind of way.
“Hello,” the pseudo-tycoon said. “What’re you reading,” he asked, pointing at the conglomeration of pages before me.
“Uh,” I stared at God’s Word and flipped a few pages, “…the Bible.”
“Hah, I can see that… What book,” he asked, smiling at me with a ‘come-on son, pay attention’ smirk.
“John… I’m reading through the gospels,” eye contact made, common ground now discovered.
“Ah, great idea. I should do that. My favorite book is Luke, but I haven’t read it in too long.”
“Yeah, of all the gospels, Luke’s my favorite too, it seems so much more personal.”
“Yeah, I definitely see that. Well hey, I don’t want to take up anymore of your time…”
“Oh thanks, no problem. Have a great day. I hope you get around to reading Luke.”
“Me too. Have a good one,” he said as he turned and half waved goodbye. He headed towards a table reminiscent of a board room conference table, suits flooding the fake wood with cash-flow dilemmas. The tired eyes at the table quickly shifted from me to mister silver double latte.
As he sat down, I vaguely, barely, faintly heard his fellow business men ask about me.
They were still sitting there when I left, an hour later, discussing salvation and how it was no longer in their bank account.