The People Who Sit Next to Me in Coffee Shops, Vol. 1: The Sleeping Lady

Quotes of the Day:

Learning to ignore things is one of the great paths to inner peace. ~Robert J. Sawyer

Why can’t people just sit and read books and be nice to each other? ~David Baldacci

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Single Woman Says:

Almost every day I come to the coffee shop to work, not always the same coffee shop (always a Starbucks, but I like to switch it up and go to different ones)…and almost every day, someone interesting and quirky and sometimes wildly annoying sits next to me. Because of this, I joked the other day that I was going to start a blog series called “The People Who Sit Next to Me in Coffee Shops.” And though I said it in jest, today I knew I had to actually make this series a reality, because of one woman who I regularly encounter at one such coffee shop. I call her “The Sleeping Lady.” Why do I call her that? Because she is, quite literally, always asleep. She sits in one of the high-backed cushioned chairs, folds her hands over her stomach, and sleeps. I’ve seen her on at least three occasions, and she never has another person or even a book with her. Since this particular coffee shop is in a bookstore, you might think she comes here to read and just happens to drift off to sleep, but nope…I’ve never seen her with a book. I was texting with my friend Alli about The Sleeping Lady today and we were debating about her identity. “Maybe she’s homeless and has nowhere else to go?” Alli guessed…but no, she doesn’t look homeless. I just think she just gets her best rest at this coffee shop. And there’s something about that I kind of love. The Sleeping Lady…

1)      Obviously doesn’t care what other people think of her. I myself would be humiliated to be caught napping at a very popular coffee shop…but The Sleeping Lady has absolutely no shame in her game. With her head thrown back and her mouth flung open in sleep, she is the very picture of not giving two figs about anyone’s opinion. She is here to sleep, and anyone who has a problem with that can pull a Beyonce and exit to the left, to the left.

2)      Is clearly very comfortable with herself and her choices. She doesn’t hide her napping ways behind a book or newspaper or sunglasses. She doesn’t pretend to be here to read or work or sip coffee. She is what she is, with no pretense or shiny wrapping paper or facades.

3)      Exudes complete and total PEACE. Despite anything going on around her – loud music, people chattering at the table beside her, the coffee machine grinding beans – she sleeps. She does not take her cues on how to behave or react from the world around her, she does her thing and allows nothing and no one to steal her peace. How many of us can say that?

I don’t know The Sleeping Lady’s life story and I may never know it…but I admire her from afar. She is a refreshing reminder that life doesn’t have to be so complicated and stressful and chaotic. She is an oasis of peace in the midst of a turbulent world. I invite you to get in touch with your own inner Sleeping Lady and find somewhere to call your sanctuary to unwind and decompress and take shelter from the storms of life. Because as author Mason Cooley once said, “When you can’t figure out what to do, it’s time for a nap.”

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