Working at a cafe is like being a therapist, best friend and entertainer all in one. And the best part is, you never have to develop relationships with any of the customers outside of work. You never even have to be on the same side of the bar as them. There is literally a barrier in between you and them, so you are safe to be as vulnerable and eccentric as you please, and they eat it up. There is something so beautiful about being around strangers and connecting with them through a tiny outlet of commonality and nothing else. No obligations or expectations, just emotionally safe and always interesting human interaction. Being a barista is the perfect job for commitmentphobs and narcissists .
There is a elderly woman who comes into the cafe every night at 5 o’clock sharp. And every night I want to drop to my knees and bow in her presence. She is my favorite regular. She orders a single con leche quietly but strongly. She wears a different outfit everyday- matching broach, shawl, and blouse. She is probably about 90, and cannot hear very well. And I talk so fast. So we’ve never had a real conversation, but we always share the best type of communication- smiles. Something about her smile reminds me so much of myself it’s scary– and in my storyteller mind I imagine she sees herself in me, too. And someday, if we find time to talk in the busy, loud cafe, she is going to tell me my future, which is her past.
I’m sure she is me, actually. I mean, once I begin to dress nicely, brush my hair and live long enough to be a 90 year old woman who is still going to the cafe every night. I hope I am as silent, stoic, warm, independent and mysterious, and still have as great of a smile as she does.
You can tell she has lived a lot. And part of me never wants to know her story. I just want to make it all up in my head and pretend she’s a crystal ball of my future.
Yesterday, I found her watching me work from her table by the window. And I smiled a huge smile at her, and she returned the same. And I was like, yeah. She knows exactly how our lives turn out- and she seems pretty confident that we turn out alright.
One of my favorite regulars from the other cafe (the ONLY other regular at the other cafe) came in today and I bought him a drink.
And our drinks are fucking expeeennnsive, I realized.
But he was worth it. :)
Anyway- we talked about whatever we usually talk about. Drinking, politics, the army. I was really impressed with myself because we were slammed, and I was making drinks while carrying on an intensive conversation.
And then I told him how I had fallen in love with myself again.
And he said, “again? Meaning it has happened before? That’s how I know you’re an introvert.”
And I was like, yeah. You know how good love feels? Now take away all the risk and anxiety of another person factored into that. Why would you NOT want to fall in love with yourself? I am in a monogamous relationship with myself. Seeing rainbows and shooting stars everywhere I go.
And he laughed- but he realized I was serious, as well.
He met me when I was at the lowest of my low, when I just moved back to Manhattan. When I was completely lost, and completely separated from myself, much less loving myself in any way.
So I think he was happy for me. Even if he might think I am a self indulging narcissist.
I might be. And if so, I just plan on increasing that narcissism. Because when I love myself and life the most, I am able to give the most love out.
So let me spend nights in my room alone, and let me banter with complete strangers at work.
I got a text from each of my lingering exes tonight. One filled me with disgust and the other with guilt. Both of these are negative feelings. I have no time for people who fill me with negative feelings.
Fuck off. :)
I got my greentea and my music and my new friends and my unpredictable future.
I love you, world. Because I finally fell back in love with myself.
There is a guy who gets a breakfast burrito, scone and honey latte at 6:58 every morning. And every morning I ask him, “How’s your day going?” And he always responds, with a smile, “Everyday is a good day.”
And I think, bullshit.
Then I think again, and I look at the laugh lines around his eyes, and I realize he’s right.
I began this morning shoveling snow on the pavement outside at work. Within 30 seconds of being out there, a man comes over and says, you have to take my gloves. And I did. And I was so much warmer.
Later in the day, I was taking out the trash. It’s a super unsexy job, carrying a 50 pound bag of coffee grounds that looks like actual shit. I attempt to swing the bag up to the trash while holding the lid up as well, but I just physically cannot do it. And I look around, trying to see if anyone has seen me in this embarrassing chore. And, to my horror, this attractive 20 something is right across the street, looking straight at me. And then all of the sudden he is jogging over, offering to help. And we throw the trash away together. I thank him while we both try to avoid eye contact: for me because of the vulgar situation he found me in and for him because of the vulnerability of kindness. And then he jogged away.
Thank you, lovely people. You make me think. :)
Before I went jogging tonight, I made a note for myself to call an old friend and have a five year overdue conversation.
But let’s be honest. I probably would have found another excuse to delay the conversation for at least another few years.
So the universe decided to take matters into its own hands, and landed that person right in front of me as I walked into the gym tonight. On the night of the Super Bowl. The one night of the year that the gym is almost completely empty. I actually RAN AWAY, because that is the level of clear headedness I have pertaining to this situation. He caught up with me as I was jogging later, and asked me the questions that have been culminating for the past five years between us, which I have never been able to answer.
“It’s probably not the best time for this…” he began. And I responded that maybe this was actually the best time for this.
We jogged a few miles together, and I gave clear answers to all of the things I had been skirting around for years. And he was satisfied; that’s all he had wanted.
And then I became his friend. After five years of struggle, this is what I have been wanting all along. Just friends. Such a relief to finally be completely honest. And so interesting that he knew more about me than I even realized. He gave me a unique outside look on myself, and made me feel really good.
From now on, all of my important conversations will be had during a jog.
Last night went out to eat with my friend Jon.
On the drive there, he is telling me about how his friend works for the same person as my friend’s dad, American Joe. It was completely random, and I had no idea why he was telling me this. He asked me about Joe, said he’d like to see him again. Hasn’t seen him since high school. We show up at the pizza place, standing in line, and as I’m ordering beers, American Joe pops up behind me with a fedora and a smile. Literally less than five minutes after we had been discussing him.
And it gets even weirder, because then American Joe is like, “Faddy was just at my house hanging out earlier tonight!” Faddy is Jon’s best friend. These people have previously had zero contact with each other, then within the space of hours, friendsharing is happening all over the place.
This shit just keeps happening. Maybe it’s fate. Maybe it means I have been in Manhattan for too long.
Anyway. Played Yenta the matchmaker last night, and hooked up Joe and Jon. We are all set to hang out at a later date, with many strange and soothsaying qualities to accompany the hangout, I am sure. I’m excited.
During dinner, Jon asked me some of the most personal and intense questions I have ever been asked by an acquaintance. But he did it in such a slick way that I just spilled my guts, accidentally.
He had told me right before dinner that he had been watching interviews from the man the “Wolf of Wallstreet” was modeled after, and is attempting to learn his techniques so he can sell his business ideas.
I can’t help wondering if he was practicing a little bit on me. Getting someone off balance by asking direct questions is a sure way to get them distracted enough to agree with you on almost anything.
He can practice persuasion and I can practice not letting persuasive techniques get to me.
We all win.
Unless we don’t.
“I got a perfect body/ cus my eyelashes catch my sweat.” -Regina
After dinner, Diana and Sarah and I drank some classy wine at their place. Talked about horror movies, strawberry brownies and ghosts. And then we headed to Mae’s for a drink.
And as I was pulling out my ID, the doorman was like, “You’re good. I recognize you.” And I was overjoyed.
I have never been a regular anywhere before, but I now understand why it makes people so happy when I remember them at the coffee shop. It makes them feel like they belong there.
And GOD did we belong there last night.
I am in love with all things hipster. Though I don’t always dress in cardigans, wear funky glasses or have perfectly styled hair, I very much appreciate it when other people do. I wanted to take a video tape of Diana and Alex. Alex swirling his whiskey coke with one hand, the other arm around Diana. Hair slicked back, staring into the distance, tattoos and piercings adding contrast to his 1920’s uppercrust persona. Looking like he needs to get home to his typewriter and cigars so he can crank out the next Great American Novel. Diana making faces in between sips of PBR, loud piercings and comments in the even louder bar. Scarf tying everything together and tipping the waitress too much. Smiling at memories of our younger selves, but not questioning at all who we are today.
There was a bluegrass band that night from Minnesota– banjos, acoustic guitars, tambourine, foot stomp drum and harmonicas.
And it was lovely.
I never really knew what bluegrass was before last night– but now I am sold. It’s like folk indie music, but much more laid back and fun, pulsing with storytelling vibes.
I think their name was Hobo something or other. I’ll find a link and post it. They were great.
Long day. Good day.
Got to work to find out that the woman who took a picture of me a few weeks ago with my crazy hair went and got the pictures developed, then distributed them to the cafe earlier this week.
Am now a mini celebrity of bedhead.
I searched for the pictures today, but they are nowhere to be found.
A regular brought me a print he made of Guy Fawkes, and is going to bring me humsa prints later this week. I love when people share their artwork with me. I feel like a little raccoon collecting shiny objects- hiding them away in my treasure trove.
Took out the trash today and a beautiful girl walking by offered, or rather insisted, on helping me.
People can be so good.
Yesterday at work it started snowing. And people started tipping. And it was like being in a tiny snow globe of giddy excitement and hilarious encounters. The two girls I was working with, E and A, were so much fun. And we had a tea party going on in the back of blueberry muffins and hot apple cider. A tea party only one of us could attend at a time. Just like something out of Alice in Wonderland.
And A dropped a guy’s change into his coffee on accident. Later she blurted out in song and dance as I was talking to a guy about a book. And after that I felt like her and I had been best friends our whole lives.
E and I spoke to a woman publishing her second book next month. We listened to her read her blurb aloud. We asked if we could read her book before it comes out, and she’s like, yeah, love you to. Just so you know though, there are homosexual relationships in it, so if that makes you uncomfortable… And we were like, NO! Of course not! We love gay! E and I are going to dye our hair with coffee grounds and cinnamon.
Talked to a guy about a book he was reading– said he loved the author because he was so “awkward.” Don’t exactly know what he means by it– but I am going to check out the book he was reading and see just what awkward means to him. Maybe do some awkward writing of my own. Maybe already doing it.
Today was a new creepy coincidences record.
With Diana in a cafe drinking apple juice on the sofa. Mentioned a person I was matchmaking for. She’s yelling at me what a creep I am. And I’m admitting she’s right. And we’re both laughing so hard. And then we get up to get refills, and run straight into the person we were just discussing. And I make plans with this magically appearing person. Plans that I don’t have time for but I make anyway because, come on, life is magic.
And then later tonight on my run, feeling a bit guilty because haven’t hung out with this person I said I would hang out with last week. On my way leaving the gym I stop and stare at a poster of events for a minute. Within that minute, the person walks in the door, walks over and is standing right next to me when I turn around. If I hadn’t stopped to look at the poster I would have just missed him.
Maybe that’s what normal life is usually like- just near misses. And for some reason right now, I’m making all of these random choices that land me right into the faces of the people on my mind.
Love mornings at work. Love mornings in general when I see them.
Except, no fail, that fucking Passenger song “Let Her Go” is on every time I start my car in the dark morning. And it makes me laugh. Because it’s so dramatic to be out in the morning while everyone is asleep, driving quietly along to this melodramatic song that forces me to think about the past.
Today one of the bakers invited me to play Monopoly with them over the weekend. Really sweet.
One of the regulars I am getting to know is a journalism professor at the university. He had a 30 year career in journalism previously, writing for papers in Kansas City, Oregon and New York City. He traveled across the world through war zones, tsunamis and everyday life. He wears a scarf everyday that he got in Afghanistan.
Now he just teaches a few classes and takes his young son to get hot chocolate at the cafe everyday.
He has something that I aspire to.
Three people grabbing coffees before flights today. California and Chicago. Wanted to go with them. Haven’t been this carefree about traveling in a long time. It’s the unknown that’s exciting again– the thrill of knowing nothing about where you’re headed that makes it all worth it. Empowered and lost all in the same moment.
One of the regulars got a job in San Francisco, and my boss is moving to Portland soon.
It is completely possible to move. People do it all the time, apparently.
Learning people’s stories changes the way that you see them. Thought I knew someone this past month, now have new eyes with less judgment clouding my vision with just a piece of new information.
Write work exercise learn be. Repeat.
Zimt positive. Practice the art of minimizing. No room for negative energy.
The path is right there.
(Grandpa, I know you love it when I start speaking in code. ;))
I am boycotting television, internet surfing, bread, dairy, GMOs, pesticide, excessive antibiotics and chips and sour cream. The chips and sour cream will be the most difficult part.
I am going to drink green tea and coffee and write and read and turn into the organic creative writing machine that I crave to be.
Many. A little. All.
I sliced a little bit of my finger off at work the other day.
I have two girl dates for valentines day- like juggling two relationships.
Every moment your best and fullest moment.
Bursting with thought and movement.
Listening to a female DJ on the way home from work today.
“There is this new trend going around, ‘No Makeup Mondays.’ Now, I’m not brave enough to try that. Me without makeup is TERRIFYING.”
Girls have been saying that since middle school about themselves and other girls, and it never struck me until today just how much we all accept that statement. How normal it is for a woman to say she looks horrific without her makeup on. How she is basically saying that she by herself is terrifying to witness.
But then with makeup, apparently everything is better. And women are able to feel good about themselves. They are not the monster underneath anymore, they are someone that they can be proud of.
Do people actually believe women are horrifying without color painted on their faces? Or do we just say that without ever realizing what our words mean?
They still get internalized into our societal subconscious, whether we mean the words or not.
This female DJ was in her late 20s, in the prime of life, and seemed happy and confident. I’m sure she loves herself and doesn’t view herself as ugly. But she sees herself as the person with makeup on, and the thing underneath as something “other.” Something that she can debase and guffaw at. And trust that others will be right behind her in her lighthearted jabs at herself.
It has never been so blatantly obvious to me before how we as women keep ourselves at the bottom of the social hierarchy. We are the ones locking ourselves inside our own skin, immobile without those magic potions that hide our unbearable natural faces and bodies.
What the fuck?
No wonder we can’t seem to move forward any faster than we are going. We are not proud of who we are. We are proud of what covers us up, and think of the thing behind the mask as an abomination.
Why should the DJ think what is underneath her daily makeup it is terrifying? Why should this be a common joke that every girl makes, beginning in her early teens? Why the fuck should we feel trapped within our own bodies? Why should we feel separate from the horrifying naturalness of our bodies, and in love with and loyal to the mask?
Just back from a party. I am unbelievably proud of myself that I not only WENT, but also LEFT before it got too late. These are two trends that I would like to continue this semester. Making time for myself, but also venturing out into the world when opportunity arises.
On a different note, saw an old friend at the gym yesterday. I was running on the track, and we stared at each other for a good 15 seconds or so before we both realized who the other was, in the same instant.
Gave him my number and made tentative plans to hang out later that night. He never called, and I figured I must have given him the wrong number. Turns out my parents got a call on our landline at about midnight last night– and both parties had a very unpleasant interaction.
Actually really funny.
What am I doing handing out my home phone number? I haven’t done that since I was 14.
My Middle Eastern friend tells me about baselines this afternoon.
We’re discussing his economics class, and then he’s like, I wanted to ask you something. You know the baseline? Like a line where you begin and end on the same plane? Most people stay at the baseline during their lives. The only way to leave the baseline is effort. Internal effort. A lucky person who doesn’t try and an unlucky person who feels powerless are both on baselines their whole lives. External effort has no impact on moving past average- it’s that internal effort that takes you up above where you started. The person who sets themselves apart and puts in internal effort- neither cursing the external nor needing the external, is the person who has surpassed average people.
The language barrier took a toll, and there were many misunderstandings along the way. I would be nodding along, letting bits go that I didn’t catch, assuming I’d piece it all together if the conversations kept moving. And I did piece it together, but in that “AHA” way that blows your cover and lets the other person see that you were completely lost before your lightbulb moment. Everytime I would have the eureka moment and we would be on the same thought plane, he would launch into a bigger part of this idea of baselines, and lose me all over again. Me nodding frantically in agreement, desperately wishing I spoke some Arabic.
I am going to learn it. It’s going to be my language. I’m committing. My Dad learned Russian during the Cold War. I’m learning Arabic now. It’s a family tradition.
With the last lightning bolt of understanding between us, I decided to wrap the conversation up so as not to misunderstand anymore. I want to have the conversation again and be prepared to discuss next time. Not just nodding along.
As he was walking away he said something like, “You’re doing a good job.” Or something like that. It didn’t correlate to the exchange before that, but I think he was paying me a compliment. I think that whole exchange might have been a compliment. Or he might have just been trying to find the words to finish his creative writing paper.
I love ambiguity.
Also, researching Saudi Arabia this weekend so I can ask him about his country instead of avoiding the topic for fear of showing my ignorance.
This morning a guy walks in. And for some reason him and my coworker start talking about age. And my coworker is saying how she has crows feet around her eyes already and needs cream, and she’s only 26. And then this lady comes up to the bar to add milk to her coffee. She joins the exchange.
“Oh. Don’t ever use that cream. It doesn’t do anything. Believe me- I’m quite a bit older than you girls.” She looked about 40, 45 at most.
“The only way to get rid of wrinkles is plastic surgery. I tried all the creams but I gave up. You need someone really good to do it.”
And then the guy, your typical, “I love women for who they are and I don’t even notice their tits or ass” sappy bullshit says,
“I’ve never understood why guys are attracted to young looking women. Or why women want to look young. If I’m going to be with someone, I want them to be mature, be able to hold conversations with them and talk about life. I don’t want you to look like you’re 16. Because I don’t want to date a 16 year old. ”
My coworker tries to make light of the situation, as shit is getting real. “I want to look 16 forever.”
The conversations takes a lighthearted tone for a bit, and then the woman at the counter backs up the conversation.
“In answer to your question about why women want to look younger– it’s because it’s all we have. It’s what we get noticed for. It’s why you stick around.”
And my coworker comments that it’s not fair that men don’t age. Women get wrinkles, men turn into George Clooney.
The conversation is wrapping up, and I’ve managed to just take it all in without saying a word. The man orders his coffee, and the woman leaves. But not before I share a smile of female solidarity and understanding with her.
I could not believe my good luck at witnessing all. Usually when those conversations take place, I am the one instigating, or at least egging them on. It was radically different to just watch- no one knowing my views on anything and just completely forgetting I was there as they got wrapped up in their own perspectives. Men and women in their natural environment, brainstorming together thoughts about gender issues. No direction, just open conversation with strangers at 8 am in the morning.
Like a hidden lion watching a herd of antelope go about their normal day, I was the hardcore feminist in the midst of an impromptu gender politics discussion. Enjoying them for their natural beauty, not my need to hunt.
I didn’t need to convince anyone of anything today. I was learning just as much as them. I need to keep my mouth shut more often- most especially on the topics I am knowledgeable on. Listening, not directing, is where I will gain the most. And that is how others learn- by working things out themselves, not by having others tell them.
Dialogue is all I want to see. Dialogue is the best form of activism. And listening quietly is also a often forgotten form of activism.
I truly believe that the more we talk about things openly, it becomes impossible for us to go down the wrong road. We are our own set of checks and balances. But we all need to check, and be checked. We need to accept that setting others straight means we need to let others enlighten us as well.
Two men come in twice a day together– becoming my favorites. Always so happy. Learned today as I was making his cappuccino that one of the men just moved to the USA three weeks ago. He’s from Northern Israel.
Asked him the difference between the US and Israel. He said, it’s the same. Then he thought again, and asked did I really want to know? I won’t be offended?
Americans are gullible. Opening doors for each other and always being friendly and polite. You are trusting. You will believe anything anyone tells you.
He’s right to a certain extent. We’re as endearing as we are enraging.
Drinking Oregon Chai tea and am instantly taken back to my Russian job last year- where I watched VICE and the Daily Show for four hours a day and got paid while sipping on lovely chai and leisurely editing my boss’ new book.
I should see if she’s published it yet and check it out…
But chai. Thank the Russians for chai.
Green tea takes me straight back to the hippie house, and chai makes me feel like an accomplished 9-5 editor.
I am unfit for human interaction about 97% of the time.
But apparently I am making gym friends.
So I’m at the gym, and I just want a nice, peaceful run to release anxiety and focus my thoughts.
Immediately after I begin running I see a friend who I forgot to text back earlier today. And smile and wave like a deranged leprechaun so as to relay the message that, No, I don’t hate him, I am just crazy as fuck and out of my mind.
Later, see a regular from work. Use my very obvious avoidance skills- you know, the one where you look in the complete opposite direction every time they get near you, or try to make eye contact with you?
And then saw another friend who I had forgotten to hang out with this weekend. And used the same avoidance tactics.
And then all avoidance/crazy leprechaun tactics failed, and everyone was making eye contact with everyone in awkward jogging glances.
And one guy stops running when I stop running, and it’s obvious I’m going to be walking right next to him in no time at all, so what do I do? Begin running again, of course.
There was a part of me in my brain that thought as I was about to take off, “This must be how normal people make friends– by not running away at the first possible opportunity for interaction. Maybe I should try it someday.”
That day was definitely not today.
Sadly, the world is always quick to catch onto my escape routes and French exits. I collapse onto the mats to stretch. I close my eyes and lay down. Another tactic for losing people: simply pretending to be asleep. I am an opossum at heart.
Getting up and opening my eyes- I realize that the boy from work has sat down across from me on the mats and is stretching as well. And now it takes huge concentration to pretend I still have not noticed him.
I spend forever stretching. With my eyes pinned to my legs at all times. I invent stretching positions I never thought possible, as I try to smoke him out with my longer than life stretching session.
Finally, when I realize I can no longer continue pretending that my legs are the most fascinating things I have ever witnessed- I am forced to look up. And thus ends my reclusive night.
He’s actually a really nice guy- from D.C. and in the army. Always orders a bottomless cup of coffee. We both graduated this May. He told me I need to go to grad school. He said with grad schools you can sign up whenever you want and get in– you don’t need to apply a year in advance like bachelors.
I told him that by the time I saw him tomorrow- I would have my life sorted.
He said I was a gypsy.
I said thank you.
I said I liked running away.
He said he wouldn’t look too much further into that.
And then my Zen friend landed on the mats between us.
Army friend left and I told Zen friend how I cannot handle plans- and I’m sorry that I didn’t text him back.
He said he doesn’t mind.
I will never understand this guy. He should definitely hate me.
We proceeded to talk about convention v. unconventional and emotional v. rational. He said I was much more emotional than rational. I tried not to take that as a negative statement for the first time in my life.
Because I am working on embracing the artist in me that wants to be let free.
Talked about how I am in the process of reshaping my life again. Empowered to do it- needing the changes. Going to make them.
Ended that conversation very oddly.
Came home and realized had spent the entire day talking to people, working and running.
Realizing I need to balance my time better. These are all great things in small doses, but cannot use them to run away from life decisions.
Today an old man with Native American beads and feathers came up to me in the cafe and said “Never lose your ideals. They are the most important things you will ever possess.”
And I said, “I won’t.”
And he walked away.
Talked to Joe earlier tonight– going to visit him in England this summer. English road trip. Possible EU citizenship? ;) Really, Joe just needs to jump on a flight back to America and help me navigate human interactions. I need him to stop me from running away– as he did many, many times during our road trip in the US. People are so interesting if you let them unravel themselves for you.
I need to let other people unravel themselves and stop feeling like I need to be the sole unraveler.
Cut my hair tonight. Love short hair.
Evening out with brother tonight and talked about writing, art and contemplation.
I told him how I didn’t always want to have the experiences for fear of killing the mood to produce.
He said the experiences that make you feel less inspired or productive are still emotions and ideas that make your art worth even more when it’s all together.
And so I am going to struggle again to try and say yes to everything possible that doesn’t have obvious negative consequences.
Diving into the world. Absolutely terrified but knowing it’s what I need to move on from where I am at.
I am absolutely in love with shy people, I just realized this yesterday.
Hung out at work after I got off for a bit– all of my favorite regulars seemed to be there. One in particular asked me to come talk after I got off. Then they told me their life story. Then told me I was one of three people they had spoken with since they had started school here.
You never know what impact you have on someone with just a friendly hello and a smile.
Helped another regular with an essay, and listened to another talk through their Valentine’s Day breakup.
I don’t do it consciously– but I am definitely attracted to the quieter types. These people are bursting with stories, questions and ideas, but no one to share them with. I used to have so much anxiety with not having people to talk openly about things with- and so now I make an effort to make sure no one I meet has to feel this way. Even if they never talk to me about anything- I want them to know that they could if they wanted to. Even just knowing that feels a million times better- at least for me.
It’s interesting to see which regulars become “yours” at work. Each of my coworkers have their own regulars- but I have realized that none of mine overlap with theirs. I think this is because I seek out the people who really don’t want to talk to anyone. The people who are horrified of human contact– but use the cafe as therapy to deal with the outside world without actually becoming involved in it.
People like me, on a bad day.
But I’m trying not to see this as a bad trait in me, as I can see the beauty of shyness in others very clearly. I just need to learn to see it as beautiful in myself as well- and that’s probably when it will finally begin to fade away completely. Because that’s how life works.
My regulars probably hated me with a passion the first time I spoke to them and paid such close attention to them. I could feel that they were uncomfortable, but also got the sense that they needed it. Gave everyone their own time, with lots of awkward interactions, and now we are slowly becoming one large odd group that places a large amount of weight in nonverbal communication, vibes, thought bubbles, missed opportunities, taken opportunities, misunderstandings, light bulb moments, coffee spills and smiles.
If some barista had tried this shit on me in a cafe, I would never have returned. I am more like my regulars than they will ever know- except probably more skilled at evaporating into thin air. The apron and the espresso machine just give me an outlet to play the part of hostess, not just social faux pas.
Shy people need to stick together. We absolutely hate meeting one another, but once we get over ourselves, we are so happy to have challenged ourselves and come out on the other side.
Two really good friends texted me today- and I realized their quiet and calm demeanor is irreplaceable. They are both so fucking beautiful and special because they never need to be the center of attention- but are always there and always ready to love.
I’m sure extroverted people can be great friends as well– but I think there is a special quality that quiet introverts possess that is of great value. We just need to stop beating ourselves up and learn how to share our gifts with the world. In our own way. :)
LOVE YOU ALL. xxxxx
“All this talking can hardly be said to be of any benefit to the world. It is so much a waste of time. My shyness has been in reality my sheild and buckler. It has allowed me to grow. It has helped me in my discernment of the truth.” -Gandhi
Going for breakfast with a friend early tomorrow morning. She’s moving to Spain in a few days to work as an au pair.
Early morning shenanigans over our old haunts one more time. We have such an odd relationship, going back a lot of years. Going to miss her.
Really need to clean my room tonight. And get up early tomorrow. I just don’t really know where to start with my life, now. All of the inspirations and ideas are finally here- and I am cowering from them and wasting my time eating cookies and watching shit tv.
This stops tonight.
Ready, set, go.
Seven hours of work a day? Two hours of writing a night. For the rest of my life.
Two hours of reading.
One hour of running.
I can do that.
Food should be able to fit somewhere in there. And showers, hopefully.
Right now I need to buckle down and start doing the things I really care about. I can fit everything I want in my life, and I can feel in control of it and like I am making progress and not falling behind. I just need to get ahead of my plans for just a few days. So I’m going to work really hard this next week. This last week in February. The month which I have done so much but accomplished so little besides writing tiny notes to myself that get lost in my purse and disregarded for months.
I want to find all of those little notes and conquer them. And make them an integral part of my life.
Got one of my Monday regulars to hold me accountable to write for two hours after work. We spent part of the evening planning our lives of jet setting and running marathons as well.
I love people sometimes.
Okay, most times.
Two different regulars asked me to hang out this weekend. One of them scribbled their number on cigarette paper.
“It’s my notebook.”
My coworker told me that coffee makes her relaxed and calm, puts her to sleep. Apparently when you have ADD caffeine has the opposite reaction for you and it slows you down instead of speeding you up. It helps you to focus your interests rather than being all over the place. I have always identified with this view of coffee. Have heard other people say this about coffee and ADD as well over the years.
Think it might be true, possibly have a form of inattention ADHD. Would definitely explain all of the frantic notes and unfinished projects haunting my life. Also my hatred of details and readiness to run with just a few basic facts on any subject.
Just like my acceptance of the link between ADHD and caffeine within a few minutes of research.
So, basically, I am prescribing myself coffee for the time being. We all probably have a bit of ADHD in us, but my brain does react to caffeine in an odd way. Always interesting to find others who react similarly.
Finally found a justification for drinking this wonderful sludge.
Saw a guy I ran cross country with in high school. Have not seen him in five years or more. Hardly knew him then. But we talked today– he’s headed to France this summer to visit a French foreign exchange student we had in highschool!
AND SHE WAS SO FUCKING COOL.
I knew her when I was 16 or so, and she was a few years older. She was the first girl I ever met who didn’t shave her armpits, and was unapologetically feminist.
I was interested in feminists back then- but had never met a person who claimed to be one yet. I think she scared me a little bit. Okay, I think she scared me a lot. Which is super funny now, because I am pretty sure I scare people now sometimes.
Frenchie and I sat next to each other in band and played the flute together, and we had gym class together as well.
Last I heard she was getting a degree in political science and studying abroad in India.
I think I’m going to have to call her up next time I go to Europe. Maybe me and bottomless coffee guy can visit her around the same time. : )
One of my artist friends came in today- the one who made the print for me a few weeks ago- and said, “You of all people should know how I am feeling today. Artistic ANXIETY.” And I was like, yeah, yeah, I completely understand. But we’ve quite honestly NEVER talked about this subject before, do I just look like an neurotic artist? Or are all artists just neurotic?
A man and a woman from Seattle stopped by today. They said they were freaking out because it took them so long to find coffee here. Back in Seattle the cafes are literally on every street corner apparently. Two or three for every street corner. And rain and rain and rain and year around green.
And I said I was thinking of moving up to the Northwest coast– do you like it?
And they said, “Been living dangerously our whole lives. Live dangerously, it’s always worth it.”
Don’t know how dangerous Seattle is, but it’s the idea they were getting across to me, not the location.
I said I would try to learn a bit of danger in the next few years.
I got into quite a mood today, and started giving the regulars a bit of shit throughout the day. But as it always is, I was horribly brutal in my banter. Usually I sit quiet and just let people take the piss out on me, but every so often, on days like today, I will toss the ball back into their court. And it will always be way out of line, way too close to home, accidentally throwing the basketball right at their head instead of a nice pass into their arms.
I generally have an intuitive sense of how to make people feel good- and so when I try to banter, or give someone shit, I use that same intuitive sense, but in the opposite way. And it is a force to be reckoned with, let me tell you.
My middle eastern friend taught me some Arabic today- something I promptly forgot, but I conversation I plan on furthering.
It was really odd– he was looking for a word to describe someone who is all over the place, flighty and distracted, saying whatever is on their mind and not staying on one topic. And I was like, yeah yeah yeah, I know exactly the type of person you are talking about.
All of the words I gave him to describe this person were negative, though: scatterbrained, blunt, unfiltered. And he was like, no, a positive word for it. And I asked all of the people in the cafe– 20 or more people, all different ages and lifestyles. And no one could think of a positive word for this type of person, though we all knew exactly what image he was trying to convey.
Interesting to think that your language could be missing words to describe things that other cultures pinpoint all the time.
I finally realized why you don’t deserve me.
Your first display of emotions toward me were quotes from a movie
And so were your last.
You were so lacking in real empathy
Intuition and connection to others
That you made your movies last
Last until you’d chased her, won her,
Last until you’d degraded her,
You made those movies last-
And you tried to convince me I belonged in the film.
But I’m not an actor
And you’ve always been.
Oh, there was this ADORABLE New York woman who came in today with her daughter. She loudly ordered a “COO-FEY” and I almost died. It was pretty much like a birthday cake for my ears. Tried to keep her talking for as long as I could, just eating up her words. Her daughter and her laughed so much and so loudly– and I realized that’s something we can all use more of in our lives– loud, opinionated women who love to laugh.
Just received two texts: one for an emergency ice cream endeavor and another advising me on lyrics to listen to before bedtime.
Both by people I hardly know.
Sometimes I wonder about the people that I meet. So far in life I haven’t met anyone too crazy- or if I had I never felt threatened. But lately I’ve been wondering, with all of the random people I get coffee with, statistically, at least a few of them are probably going to try to murder me. You know?
Happy nightmares. :)
Ended the night realizing I had locked my keys in the car. One call to my lovely brother and he drove all the way across town and dropped off my spare keys to me. He’s always there for me when I’m in a situation, and he’s never upset or judging me. Lucky to have him. :)
Went to the burrito stand today after work- and the woman serving me said, “What would you like, Annie?”
Realized she takes a coffee to go every morning from the cafe.
“What is your name??” I asked her.
“My name is Annie.”
Blew my mind. I’ve actually never met another Annie before.
“It’s traditional. Unique,” she said.
I can only hope to be as strong and smiling as she is when I am older. All of the burrito ladies, for that matter. They all come in and get coffees every morning before going to work. Wish I could buy all their coffees everyday. They inspire me to not complain about life, but to take what you’ve got and love it.
Am finally doing what I always said I was going to do– to write fully about the past few years. This year was not what I expected or necessarily desired for it to be- but I think it was the best possible scenario.
Looking back on the past two years- and I have lived a LIFE and met and become close with some very intriguing and very human people. I don’t necessarily owe these people anything, but I do owe myself the follow through to get it all down into a hodgepodge word scrapbook of lives and love and illusion and magic and discoveries and whiskey under the stars.
Who wants to forget about whiskey under the stars? Even though some of the relationships didn’t end well- and maybe were never great to begin with- the frozen snapshots in time are so well worth remembering. I pushed myself a lot in the past few years and experimented with different lives.
What I’ve learned? I have a core comfort level, an atmosphere of art and inspiration that I like to keep tightly wrapped around me. But as long as I can sustain that blanket of magic- everything becomes magic. And there is nothing to be fearful of- only to learn from or to benefit from.
Thinking a lot about Leicester and Lawrence, and missing the feeling that these places invoked in me. But realizing that all I have to do is reignite that fire- and I’m off into adventureland again. I just don’t think I am ready for adventure yet.
I have to process it all. Write it all first.
I’ve been slowly doing that for the past six months– and so happy I have been doing so. Because it is slowly coming together into something I am really proud of. And something that is helping me to understand who I am, and where I should be headed next. xx
And realizing that I am not a failure because I am not doing anything exciting with my life right now. I am taking a much needed vacation from moving to allow myself to process and integrate all the things I’ve learned fully into my being.
And to realize that I have already lived so much magic- it would be cheap to just ask for more right now. I need to use that magic in the best way I know how. I want to live it out again. I want to write it.
Had a long chat this morning with my favorite in cafe writer- she told me all about her experiences with editors, publishers, writing habits, etc.
One of our regulars anonymously bought all of the burrito stand ladies free coffee for the rest of their lives. They were so shocked when they each came in today and left with their wallets unopened. People are good. : )
Saw my middle school friend’s mom today. We both barely recognized one another– asked about him, he’s living in Lawrence these days being pretty much the same sweet, quiet guy I used to know. We used to steal candy bars together, ditch class and blow up loaves of bread with fireworks- a regular Bonnie and Clyde. Never trust the quiet ones.
Getting to know a grad student studying world literature. What a cool thing to get to do for the rest of your life.
Surprise visit with Deb in Wichita. Cleaning out her mom’s fridge right now and then headed to Dan’s for smoothies and grilled cheese with his daughter.
WITH HIS DAUGHTER.
Last night all sat around bonfire and drank White Russians. Felt like we were all a bit in our own little worlds as we proceeded to pour the drinks and talk.
Drank beer ate Bengali food and caught up earlier last night.
In other news in my life— got so much sun today. I took a mattress out on the back porch, along with pillows, a pile of books and yellow legal pads- and read for about five hours this morning with cinnamon coffee. Scribbling into my notebook about ten times for every page of the book I read. It is finally blindingly clear to me exactly why I can be such a slow reader.
Then I went running. And the sky was electric blue and there were no clouds the entire day. And my skin smelled like sun and my tennis shoes hit the pavement with a purpose.
If there is a panacea to my life- it is running. I need to always remember this.