OK. I am sitting at one of my local Starbucks. I, in fact, have three that I frequent often enough that the baristas know what I order and ask how I am doing today and make slightly more small talk than to the unknown customer. It makes me feel good, but a little creepy as well. To be an Internet Creep and a Coffee Creep is a lot to take in. Anyway. This particular Starbucks is the prettiest of the three, with a large airy atrium dome with a scattering of moderne maple tables and chairs about. The corporation is playing me some fairly pleasant piano jazz in the background, and there is the steady low hum of order taking, machine clanking, cup shuffling, and coffee grinding. The customers here are all well-dressed and good-looking and seem to be smiling more than people usually do in public. People here do really get jolly about coffee, I suppose. And every day is a good day if you are good-looking.

The guy sitting a table away from me is clearly here to stay for awhile. He has close-cropped salt-and-pepper hair, small brown plastic glasses, a reasonably tidy and functional mustache, and is dressed in the completely-business-safe uniform of a pressed light blue button-down shirt and khakis. His set-up includes a pager, a Bluetooth enabled cell phone that he occasionally speaks on, a small thin silver laptop, a legal pad and cheap pen, and a paperback novel of some sort, face-down and opened about halfway into the pages. His keys lay between the pad of paper and the book and I see his QFC Shopper Discount Card sticking up like a little red plastic flag. His brown microfiber jacket is carefully draped across the chair next to him. His plain shiny gold wedding band and particularly shiny silver watch catch my eye, as I am a bit of a shiny metal fan. He tap tap tap taps away at his laptop, as I am right now, and has no idea that the redheaded woman with Japanese-hawt glasses is sitting and staring at him and transcribing his visual essence and will post this description on an internet blog later in the morning. HA HA, sir.

A group of three East Indians have just come in, two men and a woman. They order no corporate coffee, nor tasty heated breakfast sandwich, not even a piece of reduced-fat cherry lemon coffee cake. The woman is wearing a very bright orange sari with a bland oatmeal-colored sweater over it and has her arms folded across her chest. She says nothing as the two older gentlemen speak. No one looks too happy. I would be happy if I were them, because then I would probably get to eat kickass Indian food more often. The woman occasionally touches her face lightly with two fingers, then slowly returns to her folded clench. The men both have tweedy sport jackets and sober black pants, and heavy black shoes that look somewhat weary. Indian Man #1 has pulled out his black Motorola Razr phone and seems puzzled by it. Indian Man #2 and the woman turn away from him and look even more uncomfortable. The woman has bright red toenails. The hep coolness of #1’s cell phone has apparently befuddled him so entirely that with a sharp nod from him as he snaps the phone shut, they all get up and leave.

We will never know what their stories are, or the tap tap tap laptop man, or the elderly lady with her Tall Chai Tea slowly unfolding the Seattle Times, alone, or the cute short Latina with a bubble butt, jangley silver hoop earrings. and hot pink lipstick who gets a Grande Mocha Frappuccino and bounces out the door, smiling.

I do know something. The couple that just sat down next to me are coughing up globs of phlegm, reminiscent of patients in a tuberculosis sanitorium. Time for me to go. The autumn moon does not light my way, just some oppressively-low gray clouds filtered through the tall atrium windows. Ramble on.