Here’s an example of the sort of thing that happens when I go to coffee shops. It’s a little poem I wrote a while back while quietly procrastinating pondering the interactions of coffee shop regulars like myself.

It goes something like this . . .


Denizens of a coffee shop
placate their loneliness with
coffee and glances, little
cakes and imagination

The middle-aged brunette quietly watching
the tall blond man gazing through his glasses at
the shapely mother of three who squeezes
the knee of the balding man secretly assessing
the Barbizon redhead just entering with
the trench-coated chap who smiles extra warmly to
the cute barista whose crush on
the three-piece-suited regular in
the corner goes unnoticed as he emails
his wife suddenly distracted by the
the Latin woman whose eye has fallen upon
the Aussie man spying over his book at
the complete stranger tapping on
his phone in the chair across from him
who comes regularly because of
the woman at the long table studying
her poetry book who can’t stop glancing at
the middle-aged brunette quietly watching the

Denizens of a coffee shop
placating their loneliness with
coffee and glances, and dreams
that someone might just look back

Could you tell which one was me? I don’t want to talk about it. ~giggle~

I spend a lot of time in coffee shops.

It’s not the coffee that keeps me coming back . . . If you’ve seen what I do to coffee before I drink it you’d call the CDC (Coffee Defamation Committee). The sheer amount of dilution I instigate on a cup of coffee will make you wonder why I even buy the stuff in the first place. I’m addicted to it, of course. But it doesn’t mean I have to enjoy it. Sheesh!

I love the smell of coffee–I will go out of my way to walk through the coffee aisle at the grocery store just to inhale the lovely pungent aromas wafting about playfully there. But pour a little water through it and it tastes like yesterday’s soggy Amazon shipping box after it fell out of the FedEx truck, got run over–twice–peed on by a wombat, rained on for three days, gnawed on by a rodent destined as tomorrows roadkill, pecked on by a chicken on its way across the road, and finally rescued and served to you in a cute plastic cup that tastes just like a cute plastic cup.

But, to stop making a short story long, it’s not the coffee that brings me here.

It’s the table. That long smooth expanse of polished wood just crying out for the warmth of a laptop, hard drive thrumming excitedly, the sheer delight of a stack of books to be joyfully riffled and absorbed, the orgasmic joy of a mechanical pencil set upon its ready surface, or–OMG–a couple of Pilot G2’s. Sure, splash it with coffee, get coffeecake crumbs on it! It can handle the degradation for the sheer joy of feeling someone create upon it’s trembling surface.

funny-squirrel-drinking-coffeeOkay, maybe I need to stop drinking so much coffee . . .

Actually, the table is nice, but it’s the people I’m truly placating my addiction for coffee shops: I may seem shy when you encounter me, deftly staking out my corner of the table, but I need my daily people time to fuel my creative reserves. I guess that’s why I call myself a shy extrovert.

Not only does the energy of fellow humanity inspire, but they’re friggin’ hilarious to observe, too. They do all kinds of silly things when they don’t pay attention to themselves. And it’s my job to duly note these things and write a blog about them . . . or include it as character seasoning in a movie screenplay, coming soon to a theater near you!

I shouldn’t talk about it, but that’s a well-kept secret* of how writers can make such quirky characters you can identify with so well . . . by watching you!

Keep up the good work!

[ * My editor called and ragged me out for letting the cat out of the bag. Actually I think it was a wrong number, I’m not sure why they had a cat in there in the first place. People are so weird. ]