I’m waiting in line at the drive-thru at Starbucks the other day. It’s a beautiful evening and, after rolling down my window and turning off the radio to order, I don’t bother to roll the window back up or turn on the radio. My mind is a million miles away, but, suddenly, I hear sounds. Zweet-zweet-zweet! I look up. Birds are flitting to and from nests built into the STARBUCKS sign. Zweet-zweet! And then . . . Buzzzzzz. A bumblebee meanders near my window as a soft breeze creeps into my car and tousles my hair.
Suddenly, I know: Everything’s going to be all right . . .
Except, Honk!! Oh sh-t! What happened to the line?!
“The earth has music for those who listen.”
Image: Mine. All rights reserved.
So I’m chatting with a blogger friend today, and we’re talking — what else? — blogs. And I say, “I feel bad — I haven’t been keeping up with anyone’s blogs lately. Even just responding to comments on my own silly site takes a lot of time . . . I really enjoy your stuff, though! You’re a good writer.”
And he says, “Thank you. You’re an excellent writer, too. And your blog isn’t silly. It’s intense.”
Suddenly, I can’t breathe. I freeze in my tracks.
There it is — that word. INTENSE.
[Banging my head against the wall] “Lol. Intense. Yeah, that’s me . . . Too much so. It’s my greatest strength and biggest flaw.”
And he says, “I only see it as a strength, but . . .” Continue reading →
Danshui, Taiwan • Dragon Boat Festival • June, 2011
The hot sun hung high in the western sky. Beneath it, brightly colored gods — with their wide eyes and big lips and expressions both goofy and severe — danced and sang in the dusty streets. The parade swayed to the beat of drums and exotic music as it snaked its way past the MRT station and between the tall Danshui buildings. A ways off, down by a three-story Starbucks beside the river, I saw lions, dancing. The performers were teenagers. They were incredible. Continue reading →
The following is based on a true story inspired by this post, as told by my dad.
I followed her into Starbucks. Actually, I arrived first. I was a gentleman: I opened the door.
It was the right thing to do, of course, though I was in a hurry. It was 7 a.m. I had to be at the office in less than an hour. But she, too, appeared rushed. It was the hurried click, click, click of her heels behind me that I had noticed first.
She was on the phone but mouthed “Thank you” as she and a small child walked past. Once they were through, and after a businessman had darted out, I abandoned my post and got behind them in line. Starbucks was busy that morning. I couldn’t afford to be chivalrous all day. Continue reading →
There are things you learn to live with. Things that never cross your mind—until “that time.”
That time when you’re ordering at Starbucks and the barista says: “What was that?” “I’m sorry, can you repeat that?” “Are you sick?”
That time when you’re chatting with a friend, and your voice cuts out and cracks, then dies.
That time when you’re calling across a street, and no one hears.
That time when you’re in a noisy restaurant, and you might as well just look into each other’s eyes. Continue reading →