Coffee

There’s this asphyxiating, ‘running out of time’ sensation. That somehow not enough time to do all things I need to do. Which is probably just sub-conscious speak for being scared. And it’s not that I’m really running out of time. I have 3 days before I leave, and packing finished 3 days ago (yeah that’s kind of neurotic ain’t it…).

So I’m spending most of my time having coffee with wonderful folk before I go. Now coffee is worth half a blog itself.

When someone asks to go for a cup of coffee with you, there are all kinds of possibilities, depending on who’s asking and who’s being asked. If it’s a boy asks a girl it could well be a ‘date’ thing, and could result in a horribly painful social moment if girl doesn’t want coffee with boy. Funny how the coffee is actually irrelevant in the situation. It’s simply a term used to avoid having to say ‘you’re quite cool and I quite fancy you’ or ‘get your coat love you’ve pulled’. Something understood between two people without being said. Or dramatically misunderstood on occasion.

But beyond the world of romance, we even use coffee as an excuse to avoid saying we actually want to spend time with each other (which is the underlying reason). If I phone a friend for a chat or to meet up (which I’m kind of crap at, sorry friends, I love you really…), I’ll always mask it with a ‘do you want to go out for coffee then?’ Partly because I find it difficult telling the people I love that I enjoy them, and partly because if the person can’t make it (or worse, doesn’t want to meet you) then it’s only the coffee that’s at stake and not the relationship.

If I call to a friend’s house, there will always be at least tea/coffee if not food offered within minutes. Again there’s lots of reasons. It gives you something to do with your hands, it gives a focus for the ‘meeting’ and I suppose coffee and buns are nice too. In a way it somehow facilitates conversation. I have my coffee in my hand, so I’ll begin. That kind of vibe. Sort of why we need background music. Not that we listen to the music, just that the silence scares us.

I love social dynamics and watching and observing how we all interact. I think a lot of us are kind of poor at it. I retract that, and say I’m kind of poor at it. And again I’ll retract that and say I just hate the superficiality of it all. How we use props and symbols to skirt round what we’re actually saying or mean to say. Something understood too quickly becomes something misunderstood.

For those of you lost so far about what I’m rabbit-ting on about then persevere, there’s a good bit at the end

So I have a busy schedule of coffee, and indeed breakfast, lunch and free dinner thrown into the bargain. Life is tough, I know. You get cool chats with people when you know you’re not gonna see them for a year. You tell people stuff that you probably normally wouldn’t tell them and they do the same for you. And there’s hugs, and I like hugs. I kind of used to be a ‘don’t touch me or make physical contact’ type guy. I suppose I still am, if I’m honest, but I still like hugs.

Funny how you only realise how much you’re gonna miss people when it comes to going away. Talk about wasted time and wasted relationships… Leaves you in a funny emotional state. In a way it’s not really happening, and I’m not really leaving the country, I’m just packing and talking about it an awful lot. And sometimes it hits me… that I’ll not be here for the convention or that I’ll not wake up in this bed for a while or I’ll miss Christmas.

And so I cried. I’ve been doing it on and off for a few weeks anyhow. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. When paul left Ephesus there were many tears, and many hugs, and many prayers. When the families followed him to the beach to say farewell, they were ‘torn away’ when they had to leave. And I suppose it gives a bit (and I mean only a glimpse, but wonderful all the same) of ‘sorrowful yet always rejoicing’. Love rips and tears and costs and over joys. But it’s the way it works, right? I wouldn’t have it any other way – if it was then I wouldn’t love you and if I have not love then…

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September 2006
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