dropping labels

There is an Intelligentsia cafe near my work. They have the best coffee in the city. I frequently go there for lunch, to read, write, to take a break from the chaos of my office. They have a consistent staff of really interesting young people. They look like the cast of some hip, undiscovered indie movie, and talk like it too. It’s beautiful.

It is also very small and customers frequently have to share tables with strangers. More often than not everyone sits quietly in their own little world, but I’ve also met some delightful people through encounters of this sort.


Today, as the women in this picture was sitting down at the table next to me something fell out or off of her coat. She was a bit harried and didn’t notice. I picked it up off the floor and awaited for her to get herself together. It was the brand label from inside her coat. The threading had become bare and the whole label fell off.

I handed it to her. “I doubt you need this, but it dropped from your coat.”

She replied, “Ugh, a metaphor for my life.” As in, ‘everything is falling apart’.

I looked at her and said, “If dropping labels is a metaphor for your life, you might be well along the road to enlightenment.”

She may have heard me, but she certainly didn’t hear me. I turned back to my coffee and Huston Smith’s ‘Forgotten Truth’, and she busied herself with her coat and bag while awaiting her order.

We have so many opportunities to touch each other, however briefly. We are guerilla bodhisattvas.

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