I finally got out and about yesterday and arrived at my morning office (Starbucks) at about 11 o’clock. I was bummed when there wasn’t a place for me at my usual spot. I love sitting at the counter by the window, in the corner, close to the outlet. My requirements are few, but very succinct. An outlet tops the list for me with an old laptop surviving on waning battery life. •

My corner is a weird little spot where a wall juts out just far enough to make it a cove for one, at the far end of the bar. I love how I can have the best of both worlds. I can feel solitary and invisible, yet be able to look up at any moment to a steady stream of strangers walking by on the sidewalk beyond. •

It’s my urban river. •

When I walked into the famous house of brew that morning, and found my place in the short line, I was relieved to survey the room and find it pretty empty. My spot was clear. •

But by the time I was handed my daily dose of half-caf toffee nut white mocha, I was heartbroken to see that not only had my favorite spot been taken, but every spot at the counter was taken, leaving the big banquet table completely vacant, which is very odd, but a new reality I was forced to endure....[New blog post. Keep reading. Link in bio] •

#newblogpost #linkinbio #nyclife #everyonehasastory #slabysnyctrip2016

When you’re forced outside your comfort zone . . .

I finally got out and about yesterday and arrived at my morning office (Starbucks) at about 11 o’clock. I was bummed when there wasn’t a place for me at my usual spot. I love sitting at the counter by the window, in the corner, close to the outlet. My requirements are few, but very succinct. An outlet tops the list for me with an old laptop surviving on waning battery life.

My corner is a weird little spot where a wall juts out just far enough to make it a cove for one, at the far end of the bar. I love how I can have the best of both worlds. I can feel solitary and invisible, yet be able to look up at any moment to a steady stream of strangers walking by on the sidewalk beyond.

It’s my urban river.

When I walked into the famous house of brew that morning, and found my place in the short line, I was relieved to survey the room and find it pretty empty. My spot was clear.

But by the time I was handed my daily dose of half-caf toffee nut white mocha, I was heartbroken to see that not only had my favorite spot been taken, but every spot at the counter was taken, leaving the big banquet table completely vacant, which is very odd, but a new reality I was forced to endure.

I took a seat at the end of the table, near the condiments, and closest to the only other outlet. I excepted that this would be my stopping place for the morning. Strategically though, on a strange chance that an opening at the counter would soon appear, I decided to not unpack my stuff, and work only on my phone for ease of movement. If a spot opened up at the bar, I wanted to grab it quickly.

As I was working on Annika’s video on my phone, people started to populate the table. Soon the long banquet table was nearly filled. People came and left as I worked away, uncomfortably, in my own cocoon.

Then came Dvora, who saddled up at the spot next to me, walker by her side.

I continued to work, New York style, making no noticeable movements with my occasional upward glances. I was all business to myself. In my peripheral vision, I picked up some clues of my right-hand mate as she unpacked a sandwich and small plastic container of cheese from her satchel and set it beside her icy Starbucks drink. I noticed her maneuvering her iPhone like a pro. Here was a woman, probably a generation or so ahead of me, with an iPhone. These days that’s not nearly as surprising as a few years back, but nevertheless, it impressed me.

That must have moved me enough to lift my head and look more purposefully in her direction. And to that, I was met with a kindly introduction to this salt-of-the-earth, true New Yorker.

An hour or more passed in a heartbeat as we unfolded a conversation that offered each of us a peek into the other’s story in this city of millions of strangers.

We shared stories of family. And offered photos on our iphones with ease. She gave me a glimpse into the life of a Jewish woman, born in Yugoslavia, raised in Israel, who is now a decades long New Yorker, living in a tiny studio apartment in Midtown Manhattan.

For weeks my strict resolve for productivity has kept me arms-length to the stories of others, but on this day, I’m glad the universe conjured up the just-right stuff to plant me in the perfect spot to meet this fine person, and learn a little more about the faces of our world. I was reminded that trips out of my comfort zone needn’t be seen as cringe-worthy after all.

We each parted with a hug, a smile and a new Facebook friend.

My only regret is that we didn’t take a selfie!

Dvora. It was a pleasure meeting you. 😊


Let me know what you think in the comments below…. What happened when you were forced out of your comfort zone?  Please share this post too. Would love to have more friends at our table. 🙂


Thanks for reading. This is my little place to vent out the noise in my head so I appreciate the listen. I don’t post often, so if you would like to keep up with my posts, subscribe to my updates and I’ll give you a shout when a new one surfaces. Plus, I’m always making some sort of printable that I share with my subscribers so you’ll get that too. But, I promise I won’t bury you in emails. For realzies. 



About The Author

Maria Slaby

I'm a lot of labels, not the least of which is a mom / wife with four awesome kids and an amazing husband. My lifelong love of making cool stuff with an eye on our humanness has also turned me into a branding and publishing specialist. I love helping others bring voice to their passions in this wild and tangled digital world. Catch up with me on social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram @mariaslaby.

  • Mark Slaby

    Great story…the authentic story of a city is in its people.

    • http://mariaslaby.com/ Maria Slaby

      Yes indeed! Glad you’re here with me now too. It’s fun to share the experience with my first matey! 🙂 <3