Over Coffee

DISCLAIMER
This conversation didn’t happen. I don’t even know a Christine.

We sat down in front of Cafe Borrone in the warm night. It had been 105 for most of that week, which made it 85 at work with the A/C on full. At least it made the nights warm; there’s something about a warm, dry night with a light breeze that makes me tingly-excited, like an adventure is about to happen. Which, I’m hoping, is just about right.

The coffee was decent and overpriced, just like Borrone always had been. It was one of those places where it was a really bad idea to come hungry, since they served well-decorated but hugely overpriced things to nibble on. I looked over at Christine and sighed. “It’s been a long week.”

“Tell me about it,” she grumbled, glancing up with a mouth full of turkey-on-foccacia. “My boss wants a total redesign of the new wing on our client’s house. Says my original design was too Greco-Roman.”

I shrugged. “You can never get aesthetics perfect. There’s no end to it. When do you say, ‘Okay, that’s good enough’? At least with software there’s a chance to get it right.”

“Hey, that’s not fair,” she said, cocking her eyebrow and putting down the sandwich, “it’s not even true.”

She took a sip of her mocha and looked at me squarely across the table-inspired-by-a-sewer grate. “Software ships with bugs and inefficiencies. People put up with a certain number and it’s just not worth it to fix them all. You also have a grey line of ‘good enough’.”

“Ah, whatever. As I said, it’s been one helluva week.” I tapped my transparent green plastic Good Luck ring against the table out of idleness. I can’t remember where I got it from, but somehow I’m sure it’s my Good Luck ring. I found it after breaking up with V; maybe it’ll give me better luck with a future mate, but it’s been no dice so far.

I was thinking about Hawaii, Brazil, and Lithuania. I wanted to integrate my technology passions with travel and the desire to make the world a better place. I envisioned helping to set up Mali’s telecom industry, then getting the first colocation site in Nepal established, speaking at conferences about intellectual property. These visions in their specificity were fantasy, but their generalities pulled deep strings within: the desire to travel coupled with the desire to start a company. I knew both had to happen, and I felt they should happen soon…

“David.”

“Oh, sorry. I was just thinking.”

“You seem to do that a lot. Why not try doing more instead of just vaguely ruminating about things?”

“Time, I guess. I love my work, but it’s really sucking up a good chunk of my day. Between that, my non-profit, finding housing and roommates, getting my car fixed up, and hanging out with friends, it’s difficult to find some time to focus on these things.”

“You’ve got to, David. Think about what you really end up spending your time on.”

“Well, I spend a lot of time on email and on just checking web news and stuff. Not even important news, just random things. I guess I could reclaim that time.”

“There you go! You ought to start working out some more too.”

I looked a little dejected; I had been feeling a little uncomfortable with my size of late and had just taken to biking to work. I patted my stomach and looked down at the coffee that I had just called dinner.

“No, I didn’t mean that…” She smiled and patted me on the wrist. “You look fine. I was just feeling kind of short on energy and time myself until last month.”

“Jeez, is this a pitch for some television pills or something?” I jabbed.

“No – it’s an ad for exercise, punk. Keep up the biking, do some push-ups. You’ll find you can do more, which should give you more power to concentrate on the things you want to do.”