August 13, 2018
By Arthur H. Gunther III
Fluorescent lights never fit cafes where a small corner table has a lady sitting without fidget, staring a bit into space, her hands holding tight a hot cup of tea. A moment of reflection? Simply a shopping break? Waiting for someone? Has a romance ended? Did it fail to start? Or is it just a coldish day, and the stronger Irish tea available at this place suits a relative non-moment? Whatever the story, garish lighting will not do, in the cafe, in life.
Ambiance is vital, a must, if there is to be purring, if the day can coast without hills, without downshifting, without gunning it. Special atmosphere is rare enough, and it can never come in a place with fluorescent lighting or the metaphor of that.
Maybe a walk on a trail will do the trick, or some old-fashioned motoring, conversation with another or with silence that is not uncomfortable, far from it, reassuring actually.
It may be that a fire on a chilly night, tea at hand, maybe a small drink, something to read, alone but immersed in imagination. No fluorescent lighting.
You’ve met up with a former colleague, from the days when daily output on the job, in the career, was steady, coming from a well-oiled machine, together. Recalling that mutual success brings calm, its own purring.
The family is grown, moved away, even if just a few miles. You have done your job, they are good, giving people. Warming your hands around a cup of Barry’s tea is your reward. It’s more than enough.
These are turbulent times, as has always been, though the present angst seems overwhelming, as if we have all been herded into a large holding area under harsh fluorescent lights.
But teatime comes, you know. As the Irish proverb goes, “Life is like a cup of tea, it’s all in how you make it.”
The writer is a retired newspaperman. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org