It Rains; Life Goes On

Black-ink illustration of commuters, with umbrellas, walking in the rain.

Because I use public transport, I’m no stranger to arriving at work, in winter, with dripping hair, a sodden coat and socks that need drying.

I can tell today is going to be one of those days before I step off the bus. I arrive at the Civic Centre station at 06h50. Already, the light drizzle has become a heavy downpour. I figure there’s no point waiting for a ceasefire. I could end up waiting all day.

Besides, I want coffee.

I get a cup every morning — scratch that: I get a cup almost every morning. A spatter of rain is usually all the convincing I need to avoid an extra two minutes of no-cover-commuting. But not today. Today, I don’t care that it’ll feel like I’m walking through a shower fully dressed.

I gather what’s left of my nerve and hurry across the few roads keeping me and a tall cappuccino apart, grateful I chose not to wear high heels, and that I always carry a raincoat.

There’s something magical about my morning pit-stop at Seattle Coffee. It doesn’t seem to matter how I’m feeling or what I’ve got on the to-do list that day, stepping into this coffee shop — with it’s good music, cheery baristas and strangers who are brought together by a mutual need for caffeine — puts me in a good mood.

The whirl and whoosh of coffee machines ensnares my attention, shifting my thoughts from the rain, the millions of microscopic germs that live in the 14-ton killing machine I ride to get to work, and the rude lady that accompanied them this morning.
The lead barista is hollering across the counter, like she always does, “Have a lovely day, Sweety!” The man, with a ponytail and an apologetic smile, who works at the City building next door, places his order at the till point to my right. I never stand behind him — he orders what feels like 40 cups in one go (it’s really only 8 or 9 or 10).

Just before I get to the counter, I look over my shoulder and out the glass door. Usually, Blue-Haired Guy is stepping in as I place my order. He isn’t here yet. Maybe he got caught in the rain. Maybe his bus was running late. Maybe he’s not getting his Butterscotch latte today. I doubt the latter.

Once I have a cappuccino in hand, I turn toward the exit. The man from the City is just ahead. His order — of 9? No, 10 takeout coffees — is expertly balanced. Like always.
I toss a final glance toward the entrance before heading back into the rain. My chest swells. Blue-Haired Guy is here!

It’s a 900 meter walk to the office. There are 6 roads to cross. At a stroll, it’ll take 7 minutes. I know the traffic lights well enough to never halt or slow my step — even when I’m speed walking.

When I push into the office building, 5 minutes later, I feel like a wet cat. It’s cold. It’s uncomfortable. But it’s not the end of the world. I’ve learnt to carry an extra pair of socks. I’ll dry. I’ll get warm.

I head up to the 4th floor, shake off my coat and add it to the collection we have gathering at the back of the office before sitting down at my desk, taking my first sip of coffee and beginning the day.

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