The blue and yellow sticker on the MacBook Pro across the coffee shop.

The tiny elephant tattoo perched on an ankle at a neighboring table.

Spectacles and scarf.

The Catcher in the Rye.

Journal. Latte. Laptop.

And then there’s the realization that I noticed the laptop’s return, time after time, not the person holding it. The awareness that I noticed that the price sign got rewritten, but I haven’t greeted the new barista behind the counter.

I’m doing it again. Sitting here, noticing the periphery and accoutrements, instead of the person carrying them. Noticing their clothes and style and the things they bring with them in and out of the coffee shop. Doing the infamous eye sweep (Why? Out of curiosity? Because I am across the room and don’t know them? Because I don’t want to interrupt their day with eye contact?).

It’s time to look the person next to me in the eye. They are more than the sum of their laptop, book, and coffee cup. I know deeply that they are, and yet I find myself in the bubble of my own thoughts and the seclusion of my own task list.

I’d keep writing, but it’s time for an introduction.

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience…And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” (Colossians 3:12, 14)