woman typing on a laptop at a coffee shop

On my way into work today, I stopped by Starbucks for my usual Saturday treat. The Nippers Corner location features outdoor seating and just adjacent to the door was a woman that caught my eye as I stepped past her to the front door and into the coffee shop.

What drew my attention wasn’t her looks, or what she was wearing — I really can’t recall either with any clarity — what struck me she was doing. I walked past her in all of a second and a half, but thinking back on it now is like recalling a scene from the Matrix where everything slows down and you can focus on every little detail.

[ cue cool electronic sound effect ]

It was still early in the day, so the sun was low on the horizon and the air was light and crisp with a gentle breeze. She was in a world all her own. Her body lightly rocked forward and backward with the ease of a tapping finger, no doubt triggered from the personal soundtrack coming from her earbuds. Tracing the cord down the side of her arm, we see the headphones terminate into her Dell laptop. Her fingers slap at the keys fiercely as they attempt to keep up with her thoughts. It is clearly a losing battle because she leans in towards the screen, her mind attempting to force the words to appear faster before the thought is lost. Her mouth is parted slightly, almost a grimace as the rapid staccato “taptaptaptaptap” urges her on, encouraging her to go faster and faster and faster.

[ cue sound of loud crowd noise as I’m yanked back into reality and entering Starbucks ]

She was “in the groove” and passionately writing something, I don’t know what, but I drank it all in wishing I could be in her shoes right then. There is just something special about being in a public place and lost in your own world. That is what I saw on the woman’s face this morning and that’s what struck a chord and what’s been reverberating through me ever since.

Photo: “Catching up on e-mail…” courtesy of Ed Yourdon.