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By Carissa Tobin

WED MAR 11, 2020

“Hey! I have the day off today!” Zahara texted. “Any chance you can meet up this afternoon for coffee?”

I was shocked to see this text as my lunch hour was wrapping up. I had been texting with Zahara about setting up a coffee date for months; we had at one point settled on getting together on a weekday morning before work and then that had fallen through due to sickness.

The shocking part wasn’t so much the invitation. It was my response:


The odds of us coming together in this way had to be less than 10%.

So a few hours later, after arranging with my mom that I would be home later than planned, I waltzed into my favorite cafe with Zahara.

After all that planning and rearranging, here we were: together.

“I would have texted you sooner,” she explained, “but I needed to use my only day off to rest.” As a fellow introvert, I totally get it. It’s why I rarely make plans during Little L’s naptime or after she’s in bed. I want, I need, I crave that time to myself.

“But I rested this morning,” she continued, “And now I felt like I wanted to hang out! I’m so glad you were free!”

In fact, it’s possible that we had looked at this very date for coffee at a time in the past when I’d had plans that afternoon. But they had been cancelled, and I was free to accept her invitation!

I smiled at one of the assistant managers as I walked in. “I’m leaving as you arrive again,” he said. Yes, it’s true, I’d been here just the day before. On my way home from work, I had stopped for a quick cup of coffee. I’d then run into some close family friends. “Tell your mom we say hi,” they’d said.

“I will!” I said. “But don’t tell her how long I was here hanging out!”

It’s true, I took the time to write a lengthy email, one that caused the recipients to respond with, “YES! For coffee shop alone time. Do it!!” I hadn't planned on it; I had just felt the urge and decided to stop in for a quick-ish cup of coffee on my way home.**

With the uncertainty right now of health and travel and work and school and sporting events, it feels like all the not knowing is causing a climate of anxiety.

But, remember, as in my surprise date with Zahara, sometimes the unknown can be good, too.

“How about I let you know when I’m free?” you might say to a pal who you’re having a hard time making a date with. Take out the stress. “We’ll figure it out,” my friend Thom often says.

And maybe, just maybe, in a stroke of good fortune, when you’re asked to meet for coffee in a matter of hours, you might be able to say yes.

**Thanks, Mom, for staying late with Little L!