Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Six Degrees of Coffee

The barista is sixteen. In the spring, she will graduate with a AA degree and transfer to a university to study for her bachelor’s.
She likes reading mystery novels and science fiction with a noir bent. She is extremely articulate and actually intellectually intimidating. It is easy to mistake her for a bubble-headed bleach blonde. She is anything but. I suspect she is smarter than all the rest of us in the shop put together.
A mother and twenty-something daughter are enjoying their coffee at the table across from me. The daughter is annoyed. Her mother has a bad habit of answering the phone and just talking away, despite the fact that her daughter is sitting across from her and that they are in a public coffee shop.
I repress the desire to take the mother’s cell phone and flush it down the toilet. I am certain the daughter would either applaud my efforts, or kick my ass.
At another table next to the mother and daughter team is a man, in his thirties, dressed similar to me, in slacks and a nice shirt. He is working on an expensive laptop, one of those awesome portables that have a good screen and a keyboard, but is thin. His laptop is twice as thin as mine. The keys make an IBM AT keyboard sound when pressed. He types fast.
The man is enjoying his coffee. He seems to be focused on a deadline, because he didn’t flirt with the barista when he ordered. Everyone flirts with the barista. Everyone with a pulse, that is. Perhaps he is a law researcher.
He has expensive shoes. From Nordstrom. Whatever this man does, he makes good money. Nice laptop, nice shoes, focused intent. I can dig it.
I cannot see his ring finger, so sorry, ladies, I do not know if he is married or not.
Stuffed in the corner behind me is Fantasy Dude. Fantasy Dude comes here to read and drink coffee, a Gigante Latte, sometimes iced. I see him here with a fantasy book almost every time I stop by. One time he came in with Stephen King’s Under the Dome. It took him only two days to read. Go, Fantasy Dude, Go!
I am sitting in Fantasy Dude’s chair. It’s the best chair in the shop, and would be perfect except there is no outlet near it . So when my laptop (not as nice as the laptop described above) runs out of juice, I have to move. He usually takes my spot in some unwritten Coffee Shop Chair Etiquette Rule. I like to think I’ve warmed it up for him.
Curse you laptop without an extended battery. Curse you!
The sixth person in the coffee shop is a writer. Usually, he is here working, needing no office, but only an internet connection. Sometimes he comes here to write for fun, having completed his work for the day.
Sometimes he comes here to observe.
But that really is the same thing, isn’t it?


  1. Nice description. I think I know that guy in the expensive suit with the thin laptop.

  2. Loved the description!!! Who doesn't love a good coffee shop round up!

  3. hmmm, I've never read something like this before. I remember my brother (the artist) used to visit the coffee shop several times a week to sketch figures that he saw there but, because he has such a fear of social situations, he would never look at them if there were a risk they might make eye contact with him. Thus, he was left with pads and pads of figures drawn from behind.

    I love this idea. Written sketches. Wonderful.


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