At the next table, the First Windbag discusses his recent successful speech to hundreds of thousands in which he urged global connection and cooperation in the effort against climate change. He has friends who are friends of Al Gore and Richard Branson. His non-profit organization and his website are imminent.
He will accomplish nothing of consequence to anyone else. He is uneasily unhappy. He needs to get small and doesn’t know how or has forgotten. His friend describes a recent conversation with an artist in Washington, D.C.: “I said to him, what good is it?” (art). I left the coffee shop after that, taking a long look at them. Least said, soonest mended.
A mile down the way, the regular musician outside Trader Joe’s was working through “O Come All Ye Faithful” —single violin, bare pavement, traffic, hurrying shoppers, the plain old tune, his red face—I was suddenly fine again. I gave him enough for a bottle of wine.
“Merry Christmas!” We shared a silent moment—equal, small, grateful, if not joyful and triumphant.