It’s Thursday morning at the downtown Eugene Starbucks. Outside of the floor to ceiling glass windows the rest of Eugene is immersed in a state of perpetual sog, which will continue until April. Inside the glass windows the Starbucks patrons are enjoying coffees and teas in the warmth.
Four customers just walked in the door. The first one, who seems to be a student judging by the heavy backpack, ordered a Hawaiian bagel and cream cheese. The other customers pace about, waiting for their turn to order. The next customer orders a coffee that looks about as tall as he is. The three men, who are all wearing different colored baseball caps, turn out to be a group of friends. They sit down at one of the round tables and each one arranges his Grande drink in front of him. They sip their coffees and discuss the events of the morning.
A woman with fiery red hair and a fiery red knee-length skirt just walked in. Her hair matches the EXIT sign right above her head, but doesn’t seem to match her mood. Maybe after she gets her coffee.
Sitting at one of the smallest round tables is a woman wearing a head-scarf. She is reading the New York Times and has a large, black rolling suitcase next to her. She could be headed to the airport or the train station. Sitting on the ledge next to her are three things. The first is the rest of the New York Times, the second is a Tupperware sandwich case and the third is an oddly shaped bag.
The “woman wearing a head scarf” just turned around and it turns out that she is actually a he. He looks at me directly in the eyes.
“When was the first time you saw really big buildings?” he asks.
“Yeah. Like in New York. You were about 14 weren’t you?” he asks.
“Actually, yes. The first time I went to New York I was 14.”
“I thought so. When you walked into Starbucks, I had a vision of you starring up at big buildings in awe. I knew it was you.”
“You’re a Capricorn. I can see that you are in some sort of field where you can communicate with people through writing. You’re a photographer and traveling to new places nourishes you.”
I blink again.
“I can see that you like working. Your planets are aligned with Venus and Jupiter. I can see that down the road you will work to empower women in poor countries.”
For the next hour, 22-year-old Skylar Castiglione, self-proclaimed psychic, spills a veritable stream of consciousness across the blond wood tables, while I sip my Americano and blink a lot.
Skylar, also a belly dancer, explains his plans to start a wandering dance troupe that will travel all over India. He wants to start a vegan and vegetarian restaurant with moving statues in Portland where people can come and exchange vitamins and work on their health.
At the stoplight outside a dirty Greyhound bus pulls up to the red light inh the drizzle. Skylar says he has to go catch the bus, but first he quickly shows me how to write his name in Arabic and leaves me with three packets of Yogi Tea. He tightens his headscarf, organizes his New York Times and runs out the door with the rolling suitcase.
After Skylar leaves, the Starbucks becomes considerably quieter. There are only a few people here now. Where the baseball capped men were seated before, there is now a women decked out head-to-toe in University of Oregon gear.
A Starbucks employee straightens up the brightly lit display case next to the front counter. Inside it are rows of berry scones, rainbow colored Odwalla juices, cups of fruit and a few decadent looking cinnamon rolls.
Just another drizzly morning at the downtown Starbucks.