Observations over coffee - June 2017
This summer will mark the fifth year of spending my weekends at the same coffeehouse to write. Each Saturday and Sunday, barring exceptions, I arrive about the same time, order the same drinks, and write until the battery dies on the laptop or my mind turns mushy. For me, it’s the golden hours. I have written so much in these five years sticking to this cadence. Much you will never read.
During those same hours, I am keeping an eye on the patrons. Yes, I am not alone in this. Many of the same people come in most weeks and do the same thing. There are teams of people who come in after an exercise class, running, church, or the students at some local college down the road.
I may start to sound creepy at this point…but a lot of what I do in life is based on observation. There are things I see at airports that span from hilarious to gross. People live their lives in public, and I get to see these snapshots. Many, most… no one thinks that another person saw them do it.
It saddens me to say that I think one of my favorite patrons may have lost the coffee house in a divorce. At first, five years ago, I noticed this couple because I thought she was someone I worked with in another life time. She wasn’t. The couple would come in each week, I would notice her (because I am a guy) in her cute outfit and wonder why she is with him. For years they always picked a similar table, ordered the same drinks, and stayed about 30 minutes before leaving. Pretty normal stuff.
They were friends with the “dad jokes guy”. Yes, not a catchy name, but descriptive. He has a few daughters, they come in and have sugar drinks, he gives them a few dollars to get baked good down the row, everyone knows him, and he tells lots of dad jokes.
I have seen the couple around the neighborhood, at different bars, and watched them hang out with “dad jokes guy” and others. It’s all a great time.
About two months ago, I noticed that out of the couple, she started to come in alone. She would get her drink, stay about 30 minutes and head out. I noticed that she wasn’t wearing a ring. And after a few weeks of this, I thought the worst, she may have become a widow. Her sadness was just under her normal smile.
That changed two weeks ago. The he in the couple came in with “dad jokes guy” and the two spent two hours talking. I am not one to listen in on conversations, but from the demeanor I will say it was a pep talk, other fish in the sea, you will be alright, I am here for you buddy, call me when you are feeling bad, lets remove all the sharp object from the house. He came in the next day, on his own. And that was the last time I saw him. She has been back regularly.
It’s not easy. Looking for that right person, trusting them, living with them, and putting another’s needs in front of yours; I can’t image. Lose the house, I understand. One of you gets the kids full time and other has visitation rights, lived it. You get your friends and the Beatles White Album, take it, Abby Road is superior and all I need… and this lamp. But to lose the coffee house in addition to that? Et tu, Brute??? That must be the hardest part. You can’t get coffee this good anywhere else.