From This Angle

I do not like the man sitting across from me in Starbucks.

At first, I thought he was a typical older gentlemen having a cup of coffee, while his wife shops at a nearby store.

Then he started reading a magazine that told me everything I needed to know about him. It is a religious magazine that locates him within a certain tribe, tradition, and mindset.

Now that I know who he is, I’m giving him a closer look.

He is bald, with a 3-inch horseshoe of white hair circling the bottom of his skull.

He came in wearing an old-fashioned hat that made him look older than he really is. It’s not a
southern hat. He didn’t grow up around here. He’s not one of us. He doesn’t belong here.

He’s fastidious. He has a neatly trimmed white mustache. He looks self-righteous. He fits the part to a tee.

He wears plain wire rimmed glasses. When he reads they slide down his nose, like he’s looking down on the rest of us. He’s judgmental.

I really do not like this guy.

I just changed chairs to plug my computer into an outlet.

From this angle, I can see a patch of hair sticking up on the back of his head, stubbornly refusing to submit to his will.

He looks a bit messed up from here, not quite as put together. Not nearly as harsh as he did when staring at him straight on.

From this angle, I can see his shoes. They look comfortable. He wears them with jeans. It’s a casual, relaxed look.

He may not be as stuck up as I thought. At least not from this angle.

He’s gazing out the window. I know that look. He’s thinking about something deeper than what he wants to eat for lunch. There’s a mystery bouncing around in his head.

He’s pondering something that’s been bothering him for a long time. He doesn’t see a parking lot full of cars, because he’s looking for something else, perhaps a clue to the meaning of life tucked away in the far reaches of the universe.

He can only bear to search for so long. He looks away from the abyss and returns to his reading, knowing he’ll return to his quest later on.

Why is he here? It’s not because he’s waiting for his wife to finish shopping.

Why isn’t he at his office? Why isn’t he doing his work? What is he putting off? From whom is he hiding?

No, this guy is not the man I thought he was. He’s deeper than the magazine he’s reading. He’s asking better questions. He’s searching for a bigger truth.

I’ve decided I like him.

From this angle.


  1. Al Garrett says:

    Did you ever talk with him?

  2. Jack Laird says:

    I think you might be drinking too much coffee?

  3. Amy Monroy says:

    We’ve been having this conversation in my class this semester. I’m challenging students to look from different angles at, not just others and others’ ideas, but themselves. That’s the real trick. They’ll be reading this post! (And I vote for the purple tie for next week; but then, what will you pull out for Easter? Hoping for neon things.)

So, what are you thinking?