tales from the coffee shop

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

with the internet at my apartment suddenly becoming non-existent i have been spending a lot of time at the phoenix coffee on w 6th, and i can't help but enjoy the surroundings.

and also judging observing the people around me.

on a recent sunday evening the hippie coffee shop in the yuppie neighborhood was full of a stereotypical mish mash of clevelanders.

- in front of me was the ADD male 25 year old striped button down male - the laptop was there but he sure wasn't using it. instead he was playing the imaginary drums on the table, looking around for the next cute girl to walk in ordering a non-fat vanilla latte. he was probably still coming down from the night before.

- a large round table was taken over by the overly educated affluent mid 30's married couple (large 3 carat rock on her finger for proof). two macbooks on the table, work blackberry and personal iphone, the new york times strewn over the plain dealer and a well worn kurt vonnegut book resting by a mug of dark roast.

- the table to my left was the most entertaining to observe. apparently there is a scrabble tournament in the upcoming weeks, because a couple of 20 somethings were role playing word situations over and over again. there were timers, rule books, dictionaries, and tournament schedules. these iced tea drinkers were spewing out words that i didn't even know existed. i feel bad saying this but these people were n-e-r-d-s. like awkward no social skills nerds. but hey, nerd love is still love - in the purest form.

- there's the cute newlywed couple reading cleveland magazine and drinking french press coffee and although they are sitting in separate chairs they are never not touching each other.

- a boy probably around my age who isn't drinking anything actually, just rockin' out with his ipod as if no one is watching. for whatever reason i imagine that he is listening to kelly clarkson's 'since you've been gone' or fergie's 'clumsy'. he's wearing a skull cap, sweatpants, flip flops (even though it is january), and i kind of want to asking him to blow this popsicle stand and walk across the street to maproom to watch football and drink beer. of course i don't.

- a business man who is in a full suit even though it's sunday evening, drinking coffee from a to-go cup even though it's obvious he isn't going anywhere.

- the frosted blonde in the "PINK" sweatpants and uggs drinking a mocha latte while constantly clicking away on her sidekick. she has that i'm too cool to be at a coffee shop air about her, but i bet she's a regular. sadly, she seems kind of lonely.

and then there is the blogger, slouching in her university of dayton hooded sweatshirt and birkenstock clogs that she has had since 1996. sipping on a dirty chai latte while wearing her glasses cause she accidentally slept in her contacts the night before. she is "working" but in all reality she is clearing out her google reader, updating her twitter feed and watching everyone around her.

probably watching you...

does anyone have a coffee shop like this around you, or am i the only lucky one? if so what's your role?


  1. I love going to the coffee shop! If I am by myself I am the blogger, though I can play a kick ass game of scrabble (and yes I do own the official dictionary!) :0)

  2. There probably is a place like this around me, but it probably ends in "bucks" and involves lots of these people who seemingly have nowhere else to go, which always irks me. Plus, observing people is only cool if you're not a narcissist, which I am, so no good.

  3. I am the lonely girl. for sure.

  4. I'm the cliché Black girl in coffee shop: vegan chick with hair in locs drinking a soy latte from her reuseable Breast Cancer Awareness coffee mug donating her change to the Boy Scouts selling popcorn that she doesn't even eat.

    This shall henceforth be known as "India.Arie syndrome".

  5. Asheville is chocked full of little local coffee shops like that, and if you've ever been to Asheville or heard of Asheville, you know how "diverse" it is. The role I play? Probably closer to the cute newlywed couple. Even though we're not newlyweds we are very much in love and always looking at real estate magazines and talking about what our dream house will be like and all that lovey dovey stuff. This was a GREAT post!! I can totally relate to people watching, we do it like it's our job Haha. Isn't it crazy how much you can tell about a person just by watching them?

  6. Alexa, this is some really great stuff!

    Your descriptions were detailed and fantastic. Nice.

    Maybe you'll be inspired to write a few short stories while you're there?

    (When we lived in Dayton last year, Mike and I basically LIVED at Boston Stoker, which was recently built on Brown Street. It was fascinating to people watch. After a while, it became like Cheers because we knew everyone. Good times.)

  7. I'm the girl that doesn't own a laptop... sad, no?

    I went to my local coffee shop yesterday and immediately ran for the hills because there were so many annoying looking people there. They were playing their horrible music without headphones on! Horrible!

    But really, I'd be the girl with a pen and paper writing down blog ideas (yep, I actually do that) or the girl reading a chick lit novel. I'm not big on chillin out at the coffee shop though-- I'd much rather take my stuff elsewhere.

  8. Great deescriptions. I can picture them all.

    I love dirty chai!

    happy new year


  9. A dirty Chai Latte?

    you're such a badass. Can we make out now?

  10. The starbucks in Rocky River is always a good place to people watch. Last winter, I was the regular who showed up on Saturday night to sit by the fire downstairs to read a book. It may have looked lonely, but it was fantastic!

  11. I people watch everywhere I go but I don't often go places alone. My big "alone trips" besides shopping consist of the movie theater, where people don't really know you're alone. I hate even meeting friends at the bar I feel so conspicuous.

    you said nerd love.

  12. if i go into the city, i have somewhat similar experience...but where i live, in brooklyn, the coffee shop is full of assholes. NO LIE! that's why i don't go there. :)

  13. such a great post.

    Im the girl who has found the comfy couch sitting alone reading a book or scribbling away in her journal, you can tell she has allot of time to kill.

  14. I always loved coffee shops for the atmosphere, but since I don't drink coffee, I rarely frequent them.

  15. Oh I love this post – I used to work in a coffee shop and my favourite customers were the law students who would hole up for 5+ hours on our second floor. They were all really nice and when it was slow you could always go sit down with them and have a good talk.

  16. I am totally the people watcher person. It's quite interesting to make up stories about people based on how they're acting and who they're with.

  17. ha, this is so timely.. my date with Mr. IT was at a cute little trendy coffee shop, and we got there and were ASTONISHED by how packed it was... and how 90% of the people there were busily clacking away on laptops. so i would have been the girl - also with a chai latte - on a first date with a computer nerd ;-)

  18. There used to be this grungy (yet lovely) coffee shop on Oxford's High Street called The Buzz that I used to frequent while a student at Miami. There were always the most fascinating crowds talking through clouds of smoke while sitting on beat up couchs as indie/hippie music played in the background -- I just remember my freshman self being in complete awe of my surroundings. . .

    Sadly, it closed when I was a Sophomore and there was a void left forever unfilled*


  19. i don't particularly like coffee, but i totally sit in starbucks to people watch. it's one of my favorite past times. LOVED your descriptions!

  20. GREAT post! Really enjoyed reading what 'my baby' wrote.

  21. Funny...those scrabble players...yep, that's my roommate and her boyfriend.

    BTW, I heart Luca Mundaca.

  22. I am a cross between the nerd and the blogger.

    Unfortunately, now I will never be able to go into a Phoenix again without "observing" people in this way.

  23. I wish I did! No such coffee shop around here. Only Starbucks and it's tiny and I don't like going there because they over price their coffee WAY TOO much.

    I'd probably be the blogger if there were such a coffee shop around.

  24. I am a sucker for coffeeshops and people-watching. I worked in a coffeeshop during college and loved it. Perhaps too much. I've got a couple here, in my town, and I'm really looking forward to one I've found in Albuquerque (where I'm about to start school).

    That being said, what the hell is a dirty chai latte!?!?!

  25. mandy - i love that you have the scrabble dictionary i would have to have it to even play the game!

    pistols - hello mcfly! i'm such a narcissist which is precisely why
    it is fun for me.

    jennifer - oh, don't say that : (

    coop - i like it, we should meet for coffee at phoenix then so i can finally meet this indie arie lady.

    shannon - i've been to asheville! i can picture you two being all lovey dovey making plans.

    ashley - thanks!! psst, wanna know a secret? i'm working on a really big story actually.

    maxie - you are also a girl who has dialup go figure.

    josé - you can't go wrong with a dirty chai, hands down my favorite!

    matt - duh, yes. like you even had to ask.

    ashley - it doesn't get much better than a cozy fireplace.

    fizzgig - nerd love is the best love!

    jessica maria - pompous coffee assholes scare me. pish posh.

    chele - thanks lady! but what a better place to kill some time?

    nilsa - they have other drinks too!

    kyla Bea - you so were the cool barista weren't you?

    melange - it keeps me sane.

    alice - oh swoon.

    kelly - i had a place like that in high school, i thought i was so cool just being there.

    rachel - thanks!

    mom - awww thanks mommy.

    nate - i knew that had to be your roommate!! i thought about it and laughed as i was sitting there. i give you serious props my friend, serious props.

    rob - you're welcome : )

    marie - cause the blogger is the coolest, duh!

    arw - a dirty chai is a regular chai latte but with a shot of espresso (or two) in it. making dirrrrty.

  26. I did, but it closed. Probably because every tenth customer could be described as "that guy looks like he's about to rob the place."

  27. I love coffee shop voyeurism! But there is just one thing I can't understand.


    wtf? They are the ugliest shoes I have ever seen. My feet would shriek like a cheerleader if I attempted to put those on.

  28. Have I ever told you that I LOVE birkenstocks?

  29. oh i'm definitely the one rocking out like no one's watching and wearing entirely the wrong clothes...

  30. my role is clearly defined.

    Brown person- may be a terrorist.

  31. This coffee shop sounds EXACTLY like the one I walked into a few weeks ago to get change for a $50, and the girl behind the counter asked if I had anything smaller...ummm, no, that's why I needed change, duh!! Ohhh, wait, it IS the same coffee shop, neighbor!!

  32. I love my neighborhood coffee shop! Sounds very similar to yours except there are a lot more old people at mine (I live in a popular town to retire in). I'm the frazzled girl trying to study, but getting distracted by the hipsters who are loudly dissecting the show they just went to.

  33. I love this!

    If it is a workday, I'm the girl in jeans pretending to work yet most likely staring off into space.

    If it is a weekend, I'm 1/2 of the newlywed couple, enjoying making other people gag at how much we love each other :)

    We just moved - I need to find the local coffee shop in my new neighborhood.

  34. I'd be the person there with at least one other person because I'm really bad at being by myself in public. I always think people must think I have no friends, but envy other people who can do it!

    There's plenty of cool coffee shops around my way though. Which makes it even more annoying.

  35. In Albuquerque, I have a couple different local coffee spots that I love. I'm still trying to find that special one in my neck of the woods in LA. It's one of my new year's goals to find me one there.

  36. I love the coffee shop and the paper as well....

    I would love to have coffee at yours.

    I love your blog.

  37. You are so observant. I've got a coffee shop near me that I have only been to once so far - but so far, it's filled with hipsters.

  38. Honestly, I don't spend a ton of time in coffee shops but it sounds like you're at the zoo. I hope all the animals have been tagged and cleaned.

  39. It is kinda strange but I think taking my laptop to a coffee shop to write/blog would intimidate me. I don't really know why. Maybe one day I will be brave enough to do it.

  40. (your mom's comments always get me, just fyi.)

    oh god, the PINK pants and the UGGS, my worst nightmare! oof.
    i love to people watch, and isn't a coffee shop or barnes and noble one of the best places for it?
    loved this!

  41. This is a great post. And no, I don't have a coffee shop like that anywhere around me now but I had the most amazing one ever when I lived in Boston. I miss it so much.

  42. i love this post. I don't know who I would be, but you bet that next time I'm at a coffee shop I'll be looking around to see what characters I run into.

  43. Mmmm, Vancouver is filled with Starbucks. And at Starbucks, everyone plays the same role.

    BUT when I lived in Calgary, dizzam, I had a local coffee shop! I was the little afternoon delight, sitting crosslegged on the chair, sipping a black coffee after another night of partying, prepping for my upcoming shift at the bar, and emailing my friends back home to tell them all about my latest escapades.

    I love my life now, but God, I miss those days.

    (Ps. This post seriously rawked. A-W-K, rawked.)

  44. I really, really like this post. It's like i was there. :) Great descriptions!

  45. Love, love, love your blog! This is such a great post!


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