And there are those who, behind the counter, are there to serve us, engaging in a professional way and offering their 'barista skills' for our benefit. Usually these folk are cheerful and polite, but there are those times when, annoyingly, they can seem more absorbed in their own schedule or in conversation with colleagues.
I realise that in 'people watching' I am choosing to 'sit outside' all that is going on, rather than participate. It is as if I am not a customer and more a fly on the wall. As I begin to reflect on relationships in my life, I wonder to what extent I remain rather aloof, rather than fully entering in? How often am I so absorbed in what I want to be doing that I neglect relating to others fully? How many conversations have remained superficial or cursory because my mind is actually focussed somewhere else? Have I neglected to offer what someone else is really wanting from me (attention, interest, information ...) because I am too self-absorbed?
In the coffee shop it is fascinating just watching others and interesting to let one's imagination roam around what is going on for people. However, it would be a whole lot more interesting to really engage and relate, to meet and chat, to explore a conversation, a discussion or even an argument, that means you are truly relating to someone else.
What then of that crucial relationship with God?
I suspect that most of us would need to admit to being more self-absorbed than is healthy if God is to have his place in our lives. Many are likely to be, like me in the coffee shop, sitting on the edge and watching it all go on for others but not attending to our own relationship with God. Like those who make a single cup of coffee last for an hour or so, we may not be open to being served by God as he would wish to with his gifts.
Of course, those who relate to all those sitting in the coffee shop are those who serve, with their cheery smile and 'how my I help you?' and this seems rather closer to the God who gives of himself in Jesus. The image is rather spoiled, however, by the fact that they tend not to be so good at clearing the messy tables - and clearing the mess is at the heart of God's relationship with us, so that we might appreciate his gifts the more.