I wear my hair short and my clothes boring. In coffee shops, my South Indian roots gives me the look of a serious self-absorbed software engineer. I peer keenly into my Macintosh and sit very still. I don’t hurt my keypad while typing. I indulge in smooth, flowing jabs. I blend in like a potted plant in a lobby. Ornamental viewing. Look once, never look again.
It’s the best way to be, I feel. I do my people watching effortlessly. I watch as people in coffee shops ‘curate’ themselves into looking like effervescent, hard working individuals. They do ‘ideal citizen' things like greeting strangers and passing salt ’n’ pepper. They take a lot of pride in the process. They sit there determinedly for hours in the pretext of productivity, routinely scanning their surroundings for new faces and events.
Despite my constant presence, I barely register in their surroundings. I take pride in saying that this is the case in almost every coffee shop that I visit. However, I fear this will change in a first-world country, where my colour makes me an outlier. I shouldn’t be too worried though because right now I can’t even afford Indian coffee shops.