Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Coffee Incarnation

I love writing in coffee shops. I usually look for a spot way at the back, some nook or cranny where it is just me and the occasional chit-chat with an over eager waiter. Today I got the table on the “outside”, right in the walkway, almost on the edge of the shop next-door. Outside is obviously the wrong term, because there is still a roof over my head, I am after all still indoors. But that is just typical shopping mall jargon, classic suburbia. The idea is to make you feel as if you are sitting somewhere in (pseudo)nature, when you are actually in the comfort of a controlled environment.

Back to where I am sitting: The so-called “outside”, the edge. The place I prefer to avoid. Here where “they” are right in my face, or rather “me” right in their way.

What is the drawback of sitting here? Why do I avoid it most of the time?


I don’t like the buzz of people when I need inner inspiration.

It is too noisy.

I might see someone I know, eye contact will lead to conversation, and things might get awkward. I hate small talk.

I prefer to check people out from a distance, it makes me feel safe. I feel uncomfortable when I feel like I am in the middle of them. Someone might be checking me out. Where is the fun in that?

I feel exposed.

I am confronted with the fact that I am one of them, whoever they might be.

Sometimes I need to be alone.


On the arrival of my second cuppa chino I need to reflect on the magic of the table on the outside.


I see things from a different angle.

I am forced to look at people, most of them strangely familiar.

I see the guy behind the till in the shop next door. He looks unhappy.

The waiters are more chit-chatty with me, because other customers can see us. I get to learn a lot of new names.

I am part of the action (bear in mind that “action” is relative to the context of a suburbia shopping mall)

My inner inspiration is complemented (or challenged?) by a multitude of external impetuses.

From here I am writing with a different reader in mind.

After a while I become more aware, more in tuned with the world I live in, faces, names, thoughts, ideas, movements, music, lyrics, marketing promises, noises and smells become a way of opening myself to new ways thinking.


Maybe this is what the incarnation in the Christian faith tradition is all about. Putting your “carne” your body in a different place, moving from the known to the unknown in the hope of experiencing Metanoia, the opening of the mind to a bigger reality.