‘I’ll take a banana shake please. Add it to the tab.’
‘Sure, we’ll bring it over’.
Back at my carefully-chosen seat (always important at any coffee shop), I began reading a magazine. Five minutes later, though, I began to lose focus. The banana shake was missing. I had it settled in my mind that reading the magazine with the banana shake was my idea of perfection for the next thirty or so minutes of my life. And you know what it is like when you have something settled in your mind?
No shake, no perfection.
My thoughts then went something like this: ‘Look, Tim, it is busy and you can hear the mixer going. They are onto it and the shake will be here soon. Be patient and get reading.’ At that, I got reading again…and yet, two or three minutes later my concern over the lack of shake again emerged, like a fly that intermittently buzzes around you when you are trying to concentrate. I couldn’t quite escape the distraction, try as I might.
I perserved on, but with ten minutes having passed, I was now beginning to devise a rescue operation. What is an acceptable period of time before I chase the shake? To avoid any kind of awkwardness, should I accept defeat and forget the shake altogether? But then things will get awkward when I go to pay.
‘That’s one filter coffee and a shake, right?’
‘Um…well…it should have been one filter coffee and a shake, but the latter did not turn-up so just make sure you put one filter coffee through the till’.
Yep, awkward. In my mind, at least.
With all this swirling in mind (I think way too much), I looked on my table, and there on the right hand side of the table was the shake. It was just there. What?! Did I have a nap? How long has it been there? Did the barista crawl on the ground and stealthily leave it there? Do they have a conveyor belt on the ceiling which stops at different tables to efficiently, and silently, lift down peoples’ orders? If so, they should really put up a note or something.
I was stumped and two thoughts soon followed.
The first was the worrying realisation that I must have seemed like such an ungrateful sod when the barista brought over the shake, completing blanking them as they sat it down on my table. It’s OK, I resolved – I’ll say ‘Thank you!’ a lot when I pay, maybe even sing a song. That will make up for it. The second thought, much like my good friend JD at the end of every episode of Scrubs, was a little more reflective:
Are we on the look out for something, when a closer look could show that it has been there all this time?
The search for meaning and fulfilment in a world that just seems to disappoint. The wish for a spouse to share our life with. The answer to that prayer which has seemingly gone unanswered. The longing for wisdom, guidance and clarity, before making that key decision. The desire for community and friendship in a place where loneliness too often settles in. The eagerness for something new amidst a routine that feels old.
The list could go on.
Maybe the very thing we are waiting for, or searching after, is already there somewhere within our grasp and ready to be held; we have just yet to see it. All we need to do is take a closer look; stay awake for it. We may find what we are looking for, we may not. If we do, we may be surprised by just how near our own banana shake has been all this time and wonder why we ever got so worried in the first place.