Morning in my favorite coffee shop. From my phoneputer, an app called Reporter importunes with its standard queries:
What are you doing now?
reading and eating
Where are you?
Who are you with? no one
I answer no one because the app prompts names as the answer—my spouse, my friends, my colleagues. So you, the girl with the pearl earring across the table, cupping her hands around a warm cappuccino on this frigid morning, scribing a notebook page with minuscule handwriting and no margins (that’s how schizophrenics do it, but you don't look like you're hearing voices), you are no one. And you, bearded guy who comes in a lot and pulls art supplies out of your knapsack and sketches while chewing a bagel, you are no one. Fiftyish woman in the distracting short dress and FMPs and the fresh blowout? No one. Tall polite barista. Short cute barista. No one, no one. Jolly black man who works elsewhere in the building and usually comes in with a mammoth water bottle—no one. Young woman standing hunched and sipping a honey macchiato with an anxious face and faraway gaze, no one.
If you are not among my Facebook friends or Google contacts or Apple address book listings, you are no one. My phone says so. And to the three-quarters of this morning's coffee crowd who are poking their own phones and reading their tablets, everyone here is no one.
Can I get that Yirgachefe pour-over to go, please? No one's here.