It's a quarter til 9 p.m. when my Italian class lets out and after that I head straight to Starbucks. I want something cold and I want something with chocolate in it. I see a raspberry mocha frappuccino advertised as the special so I order that. I wait in line, there's one guy in line in front of me. A few minutes later I get my order. It comes with a nice crown of whipped cream and some raspberry glaze drizzled across the top. Nice. I take it outside, sit at a table on the patio. No one else is out there. The air has the feel of a warm bath and I just want to sink into it. So I sit for awhile and watch the last bit of the sunset. There are some clouds dark against the still-blue sky in the west. A lone star is out (actually, it's probably a planet, according to a book I read once).
I wonder if I'll ever go to Italy. Instead of a Starbucks, maybe someday I'll be at a real Italian cafe where I'll sit on a sidewalk and tell the waiter, Vorrei un cappuccino, per favore. I wish. Something about Italian agrees with me--the vibrancy of it, the constant "ch" sound, the full vowel sounds. Italiano e molto bello (Italian is very beautiful), and I am happy at the progress I'm making in my continuing ed class.
It's the height of summer and I have these long stretches of time that I have no idea what to do with. Time just extends and extends, and I am uncomfortable with it. Who's to say what is a good use of time, though? Just because I'm not being productive as far as making money or earning school credits, does that mean I'm wasting time?
This has been causing me a lot of anxiety lately, but my angst melts away sitting outside Starbucks. For first time this year I recall what summer is all about. It's 9:00 on a weeknight and I don't have any place to be. I can spend 20 minutes watching the remnants of a sunset and sipping a frappuccino. It's beautiful and peaceful and once I finally take the time to sit down and appreciate the moment I don't feel guilty about it. Those 20 minutes end up being so enjoyable that I leave thinking I should watch the sunset every day.
I wonder if I'll remember this summer five or ten years down the road. I wonder what I'll be doing next summer. I can honestly say I don't know. Some people plan their whole lives out. They have career plans, time tables, agendas. At the very least they have some kind of image in their mind of how they see their lives playing out. Maybe I'm stupid for not having that. I think many of my failures in life have been a result, at least partially, on a lack of planning.
But the truth is, life frustrates me and people frustrate me and maybe I've always secretly been waiting for some way out of the whole business, some way to escape the conventions of society and still do something important. So far I've managed to escape a lot of the conventions but I have yet to do anything I consider very meaningful.
After a certain point of sitting around with all the time in the world, the boredom lessens. Your mind is free to start thinking about possibilities. You start thinking about what you have and haven't done, what you'd like to do, how you're going to save the world. You start thinking about having cappuccinos in Italy. And it ends up being pretty cool.