I was sitting at the coffee shop doing coffee and crosswords last week (just like I’m doing right now), when a full size, late 90s model cargo van pulled up right out front. No windows aside from the two front passenger portals and windshield, it had New York license plates.
Driver and passenger exited the vehicle, and upon doing so each stretched as if having just awoken. Mid twenties or so, each wore white t-shirts, jeans, and sandals; disheveled hair and a few days of facial growth covered their chins.
They came inside and studied the menu board – an obvious sign of their amateur status in the shop. Those who come here know what they want; the blackboard menu never enters their focus.
Ordering cereal and juice they took a seat near me. Shortly thereafter I noticed the side door of the van out front open up and a third guy emerged by throwing his flipflops outside and carefully manuevered his bare feet into them from the safety of the van. He had longer, approximately shoulder-length hair, and wore a loose-fitting linen shirt with cargo shorts.
The door to the vehicle still open to allow a fourth to come into the daylight. This fellow also stretched and went immediately for his front pocket for a morning treasure – a cigarette inserted into his lips and promptly lit.
The two latecomers joined the first two inside for some breakfast after spending some time studying the menuboard.
They sat there for about an hour. Quiet discussions took place, but nothing overly zealous or dramatic, just low-key conversation. Comfortable with themselves indivually and as a group, they integrated themselves into the energy flow of the cafe quite well.
I imagine they’re on their way to Seattle or Portland, or perhaps heading back to New York from the west.
No real responsibilities or obligations, just the freedom of the open air. Sounds like paradise, doesn’t it?