It’s a Hot Mess Life

Why am I sitting in my car outside Starbucks tonight like a stalker?

So I’m sitting in my car at night outside of Starbucks, writing this. There’s a church women’s group meeting at my house with a little too much estrogen in the room for me to feel comfortable.

I finally get the night to myself.  So why am I spending it in my car, outside of Starbucks? Allow me to digress for a moment…

Starbucks is the place you go when you want to be seen, but want to look like you don’t care if you’re being seen (…although you desperately do).  There’s usually cool music playing – sometimes jazz, which we all know is “cool” (or “smooth”, as the case may be).  People sit around, drink coffee, and do pseudo-intellectual things like read newspapers they never actually purchased. They concentrate on an article from their laptops, while trying to not to look like they notice anyone else in the room…but they do.

Anyway, the “interwebs” are free there, so what better place could there be to go and write for a while?


The music playing now is an annoying playlist of hipster pop.  While it does fit the vibe of a Starbucks, it is a little too self-consciously hip for me.  Especially here in SW FLorida retirement land, where the stench of seniors desperately trying to appear young wafts through the air. It’s hard to think with the incessant thumping of faux-hipster beats, complete with loose snare head on the drums and raspy female vocals.

Also, there’s the chairs.

Oh, it’s great if you snag the comfy big brown leather chairs on the inside – those are nice.  But a gaggle of senior faux-hipsters are already camped out in those, and I am banished to the outside wicker-ish chairs.  These look comfortable, but are designed to make you comfortable only for the duration of one cup.  After this, they progressively become more uncomfortable, forcing you to either get up to buy another cup of coffee or leave so that someone else can sit in them with their new cup of coffee.

So now I’m in the car, laptop shoved rather uncomfortably up against the steering wheel.  Not at all what I expected from my ideal evening of self-indulgent writing and coffee-sipping, trying not to look like I wanted to be seen, though I did…

Well, I’m successful.  Nobody’s seeing me here, planted in my car like a stalker!

I’m discovering things that seem ideal – like writing al fresco in the night’s coffee-scented air – are not all they’re cracked up to be.  We trudge through our work days, dreaming of that big day when we get time to do “the things we really want to”. However, I’m finding that if you’re waiting for the right moment to enjoy life, you may have already missed it.

I’m in my fifties now.  And in reviewing my life, I see that I’ve spent way too much time waiting for things to “calm down” so that I can enjoy myself.  Problem is, things rarely do.  There’s always something wrong somewhere – at home, at work, the neighborhood, a friend – things are never “all right”.

So we push our enjoyment off.  We say that “when we just have (insert totally arbitrary amount of money) put away, when the kids are grown, when we feel up to it, when work slows down… THEN we will enjoy ourselves.

But there’s always something.

The nature of this life is that there will ALWAYS be something wrong.  We think we just need things to shift in our direction, but the convergence of conditions we are waiting to align in our favor won’t really happen until…oh… HEAVEN!  Seriously, if you wait for just the right moment to really live, you’ll miss it.

One day, you will die waiting to live.

The secret of life (yes, get a pen and paper ready, here it comes…) is in enjoying it WHILE things are still a little screwed up.  We deceive ourselves into thinking everything has to fall in place perfectly before we can find joy.  But that is a great lie.

Joy can be found…in the midst of dysfunction…sometimes even when the deck is stacked against us. And we are waisting these precious things called “days” if we are waiting for all our ducks to be in a row before we make the choice to really enjoy life.

So I guess I’ll head back home and walk into a room of cackling, estrogen-emitting women. Who knows what fun might erupt from the odd juxtaposition of people, Beth Moore workbooks and finger foods. The exchanges will no doubt be awkward and unexpected.

I think they call that “living in the moment”. And it sure beats sitting in my car like a night-time stalker outside of Starbucks.


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