I have purchased my morning coffee at the same place for the last 10 years, with very few exceptions. Yep, same place, and the same order. I know everyone here and they all know me.
For the last two years, I have worked out of the coffee shop every morning for the first two hours of the day. They open up at 6 and I try to be in there at that time and work until 8 and then I go to work work. There are about 5 or 6 people who are in the coffee shop at the same time as I am. We say good morning and have some other pleasantries, but for the most part, I am in there on a mission. I am trying to get things done.
There has been an old man ( I learned his age later; 85) in the shop every morning since I have becoming here for the last 10 years. Back when I would just come in and purchase my coffee, we would have our normal pleasantries as I walked in or out. Then when I started working the first two hours of the day in there, I noticed that he would get in there about 6:45 or so every day. He would come in, grab his coffee, say hi to everyone and sit down and read the newspaper. And then sometime between 7 and 8 a few other regulars would come in and he and all of them would talk about everything under the sun.
In the last two years I have had a couple of conversations with him about a few things. He wore a hat with his Union displayed on it most days. It was actually the same union that I was apart of when I worked in a previous career. So we had a long conversation about that. We would also talk about other events going on around town.
Honestly though, we didn’t have very many conversations. He liked to talk, so it was more of my fault than his. He knew that I was on a mission and I would be working or reading. So being the kind of guy I knew he was, he probably didn’t want to bother me.
There was about three weeks where I didn’t see him. One of other regulars who was a little closer to him told me that he had gotten sick and was in the hospital. Nothing major was really wrong with him, but after being in the hospital for that long some other complications with his health had occurred. And he has now passed.
He and I would sit within 3 feet of each other everyday. We had our normal pleasantries every single morning, but that was pretty much it. Kind of sad, that I didn’t know him any better than I did.
Today and going forward I am going to take more time and get to know the people who are in here. Why wouldn’t I. We are not going to hang out on the weekend or anything, but getting to know these regulars is something I should do.
Rest in peace Bill (old man at the coffee shop)