It’s just after opening and, if there are any other early coffee drinkers here, I can’t see them from my perch on this metal stool at the window bar. From here I watch people pass—those with dogs, some striding in active wear, others with takeaway coffee from nearby cafés. I guess we all have our favourite. The scurrying elderly man with track pants, headphones and a forward-leaning gait is right on time.
Trinity made my latte this morning. It’s lovely. Hannah is my choice of barista, though. She has three young children and lives fifty kilometres away—the challenge of a necessary working life spent in regional hospitality. She’ll be here later in the week. I can hear Mark’s hearty laugh. He also commutes from a considerable distance. I am inordinately grateful for their dedication. Mark has been in hospitality for thirty five years and wouldn’t be much older than that. He has a gift. We all feel important.
The Tuesday gathering of a post-exercise group has begun. It’s good to get your order in before they arrive—there are many of them. To their credit, they’ve been doing laps of the oval on a morning when the frost, if not actually settled, made the air prickly. The sun has come out now, though, lighting up the old buildings on the south side of the road. They are solid and distinguished and, like so much early architecture, elegantly designed.
The music is obvious today but pleasant—someone’s playlist ticks along. The man next to me has been delivered Eggs Benedict and I can smell the buttery sauce and bacon. It makes me hungry, and envious.
But my cup is empty. That’s an indication that I should move on. It’s an action I approach reluctantly—a precious ritual is always hard to leave behind. The day calls, though, and you can’t swan around in a café all day ….
or can you?