Have you ever been out wandering around on the planet when you spot a guy who triggers the question, “Who is this guy?”
Every single man, woman and child, has their own life story to tell, but most of us are not given the opportunity to share our story. Being the self appointed raconteur, (story teller / anecdotalist), that I am, gives me great pleasure to help someone share their life story.
Because we are constantly bombarded with a never ending onslaught of bad news perpetrated by people with evil hearts or a lack of good judgement, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that there are a lot of decent and wonderful people we never get to know.
For a multitude of years, many of us who patronize the Towne Center Starbucks, #313 have noticed a young man who exclusively sits or stands at the window-bar. You never see him sitting at any of the regular or tall tables. He is quiet and keeps mostly to himself.
Often while enjoying a Starbucks beverage, he is busy with pencil and paper using the store window in an artistic tracing process. His subject is usually fancy cars.
Some time ago one of my loyal readers suggested I write a story about this young man. Her suggestion was a perfect idea because I was already interested in knowing more about him.
That is how my mind works. Often, especially on cross country motorcycle trips when I am running after dark, I will gaze at the farm houses that line the open road. The houses are lit up with the soft friendly glow of lights from within and I wonder, who lives inside each house? What is their life story? What would it be like to know them as a friend? Do they have any drama impacting their life?
It is somewhat frustrating to realize that life is too short and the world is too big for me to get to know everyone. Meeting everyone is as big a challenge as my childhood dream of trying to read every book in the Puyallup Library. Both are unrealistic goals.
While it is impossible to meet and know everyone, nothing prevents me from meeting as many people as I can as I pass through life.
With the goal of meeting this young man firmly in mind, I found that on the many occasions while we were both visiting Starbucks, my time or my mood was not right.
It took almost two years before I sprung into action. This past Tuesday I had a short $10 business meeting during which I sold my 51 year old Chicago Playboy Club ashtray to a collector via my iPhone OfferUp application for all cash. All cash. Obviously I am a BTO (Big Time Operator). I will plow the $10 back into espresso beans. I have never smoked, so there is no real need for the ashtray in the first place. I do drink espresso, so there is always a need for beans.
The meeting quickly concluded and there I was with plenty of cappuccino filling my Starbucks mug and ample time on my hands. My mood to meet was ideal. I sauntered over to the window-bar and introduced myself along with providing him with one of my top caliber official The Suburban Times calling cards. I asked if I might speak with him with the idea of writing a little of his life story. He was agreeable so I extracted my official Cub Reporters notebook from my computer case and commenced our interview.
The young man’s name is Jafari Simmons, He was born in California and lived the life of the nomad as he moved from place to place as a member of a career military family.
Jafarii, who is 24 years old, has an easy way about him and a quick disarming smile. Jafari spent the past 13 years working as a courtesy clerk at our Towne Center Safeway. If he is not at work or Starbucks, he attends Pierce College with a personal goal of completing an art major.
Jafari has two years of study under his belt and two years to go. When he completes his course of study, he plans to become a graphic artist.
Jafari expends a good deal of energy and time doing hand drawings and computer drawings related to anything having to do with vehicles such as car drawings and traffic signs. He has the ability to look and see any single object from a number of different vantage points and then express that in his artwork.
Jafari told me he likes hanging out at Starbucks with his homework because, for him, Starbucks is relaxing. He likes the people who patronize the coffee shop.
The next time you visit Starbucks #313, say hello to Jafari and wish him well with his studies. It just occurred to me the next time I see Jafari, I will want to encourage him to display some of his art on the Starbucks Community Art Wall.
It is always a great pleasure to see a clean cut, hard working young man doing something with his life as he works towards becoming an independent and self reliant citizen of our community.
Who is this guy? He is Jafari Simmons and I, for one, am happy to share the planet with him.