Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Coffee Shop

I went for caffeine and a place to read more articles for school without the distractions of home. However, today the world was bustling and human interactions is fascinating

At the table behind me was a group of 60-something year old ladies who from what I can overhear of their conversation are interior decorators. They talk about colors with such passion and opinion. They debated the merits of painting one's walls such colors as raspberry. One woman was all for it, but other declared she had to have neutral colored walls. It was quite refreshing to hear such discussion when normally I'm surrounded by programmers arguing about "user experiences".

Two other women across the shop had been there talking longer than I and I'd been reading for over an hour. Their drinks had been empty for quite a while, but their conversation had yet to dry up. I wonder how often they have coffee dates? It would be a delightful thing if the could carry on such lengthy conversations every week.

An older man, sweet with age came in and got a viente cup of something. As I watched him put in sugar, I wondered if he just got a coffee or if the old man would surprise me with an espresso drink. He walked pass my table and waved and said hello. He wanted to know if I played chess. He'd set up a table outside. Sadly I have no clue how to play. He introduced himself as Vincent and walked out to his table. He just sat there with his chess set waiting for someone to ask to play with him. It just seemed so European or maybe small town or big city for him to just sit there waiting for a volunteer. It made me a bit sad that I couldn't indulge him. I feel like he would have told many interesting stories to whoever sat opposite him.

My goals when entering the coffee shop were fulfilled. I had drank my allotted amount of caffeine for the day and I finished my article about the perseverance of paper in the digital world. But I must say I felt more fulfilled by my observations of the people in that little coffee shop than by ticking a couple of things off my to-do list.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Somethings Never Change

I can hardly believe that the time is almost upon me. I begin graduate school this week. When I last wrote in February, this week was only a dream.

One lovely thing I have encounter over the last couple of weeks, is that even after so many years of schooling I am still susceptible to the first day of school excitement. The type of excitement one gets when entering a new school full of new possibilities.

Once again I feel like I am seven years old. Hot, muggy, late days in August and it is time to pick out all my school supplies. I am so nervous, excited, and jittery. Yes, I had gone to kindergarten the year before, but that now hardly counted. It had only been half a day and we got to play for part of that time. Now I'd be in proper school. I will have desk, and I will have textbooks to put in it and my notebooks, folders, and pencils.

Then the nervous doubts creep in. What if I get assigned homework? How does homework even work? This mystical word everyone complains about, but no one actually takes any time to explain to an anxious seven year old. Then there is this how deal with lunch time. Yes we were taken for a test run at the end of kindergarten, but I don't think I remember it all. What if I do something wrong? Will the older kids ridicule me? Also riding home on the bus! I know how it works going to school, but I have no idea how to ride a bus home. Will my teacher remember that the morning kindergartens don't know this?

However, these nagging questions are once again squashed down in the excitement of picking out my first day of school outfit. I block out my older sister complaining about middle school and focus on how  great everything was going to be. I'm going to school!

It is truly amazing how little we change even after all these years. I've gone to four schools and I believe I have  been just this excited and nervous about each new place. This time is no exception. I've done the college thing, but this is different. I have to ride the bus over to Seattle. I've never commuted during the morning rush so I'm worried about every little thing that could go wrong. I've only spent maybe twenty minutes on UW's campus so will I be able to remember my way to the buildings?  How will I cope with writing papers that are not about history?

Then I just push all those thoughts away as a huge smile slides across my face. I'm starting school again! I have a whole group of classmates and professors to meet. I have a new notebook to fill with information. I love learning new things! I know in a month or less I will be complaining about due dates and papers and the excessive amount of work I have to get done, but on the eve of the first day none of that matters.