A Character-Building Exercise
Last year I met Cedric in a Seattle coffee shop, Starbucks at Pike Place on the waterfront, Alaska Way. Or was it Alaskan Way? Maybe it doesn’t matter in this instance. We met over an AC power cord when he asked to plug his laptop into my power strip. “Of course,” I said. But after doing so he didn’t get around to turning on his machine. Instead, we chatted.
He’d grown up in Mississippi, the son of a sharecropper. He didn’t tell me his family was poor. He didn’t have to. Years earlier I live in Biloxi for a year, and I’d seem how many Mississippians grubbed out a living, tilling crumbly red clay they called soil. But Cedric had broken away from the impecunious circle and made his way west and earned an education.
Cedric’s ears were turned out like air brakes on a jet fighter, and at first they consumed my attention. But, his dynamic personality soon made them invisible. He like I, was a creature of habit, frequenting the same coffee shop at the same hour each morning, and we quickly became more than acquaintances. We became friends.
He was an easy person to know. In retrospect, he would have been a fine ad man hawking products on television – toothpaste, laundry detergent, or face-too-face, cars or vacuum cleaners. Maybe it was the arching of his eyebrows, and the wagging of his head. Perhaps it was the disarming tone of his voice that causes me to instantly trust this man. Or, more than likely, it was all of the above.
Sadly, our friendship terminated rather suddenly, when MicroSoft, his employer, transferred him to the MiddleEast somewhere. He may not have been at liberty to share that information with me. We emailed for a time, but the period between responses increased dramatically and finally ceased all together.
Instinctively, I Scandentia the patrons each morning when I visited Pike Place.
I miss Cedric.