It’s my guilty pleasure and one that goes great with a huge cup of coffee.
When it rains I love nothing more than being in a warm coffee shop with a blistering hot cup in hand and a look of absolute smugness as I watch people dash from A to B with newspaper hats and unfurling umbrellas.
You imagine their lives and the thoughts flooding their head as the rain floods their shoes. As I am sat in a London coffee shop I can guess that most of their thoughts include, “Get out my way I am far more important than you”. Nonetheless, I thought I would share with you all a bit of prose to describe the truest of guilty pleasures; people watching.
I watch as the rain creates a distorted view outside, life altered while the heavens are open. Roads turn to rivers, people turn to snails leaving trails of water as the trudge through my -now filling- coffee shop and smiling people collecting money groan under the weight of their buckets filling with water instead of funds.
My bitter coffee slides effortlessly down my throat as a sprinting commuter slides on a greased paving slap, pulling off a perfect dismount from his self-respect. I smile wryly while the heat of my cup starts to penetrate my gloves, the warmth clearly preparing me for the heat of hell for this oh so guilty pleasure.
The legions of black suits and grey faces, bustle past one another regarding the weather with nonchalant distain. Eyes down they wade through their colleagues, a power-walking competition played out at every tube station. Black cab doors fly open as people flee the deluge and mark the cost down as a necessary expense.
But there are some, the unsuited civilians, who caffeinate my imagination better then the coffee flowing through my bloodstream could ever do.
A couple pass hands clasp tightly, white knuckled, perhaps she is holding on for fear of letting go or, more likely, for the simple enjoyment of hurting the one she loves.
Two strangers share a lighter as they cower from the storm under a shop’s awning. A short sentence and a nod and they become strangers again, stood together.
A soaked man bimbles past. He walks with a swagger and a smile, all the while his clothes are becoming more water than material. Is he happy or crazy? It’s a fine line…
The rain has eased and my coffee drained. I gather my things and become a character in someone else’s window gazing. I wonder what they might think of me as my umbrella turns inside out.