Thursday, September 20, 2007 

Lost in Suburbia...

It’s Monday, eight minutes past seven in the pm. I’m taking in the acoustic Barenaked Ladies live on the house speakers. It’s been a while since I’ve listened to them, so it creates a light and generally happy feeling for the patrons here. I’m just on the cusp of losing the right to use patrons as plural, one less, and it would be patron. It’s a slow night here at the coffee house.
The counters are reflecting the dull glow of the seventies porn set lamps that hang from the ceiling. I take notice of this, and was admiring the coincidental beauty of it all when Here Comes the Sun takes over the ambience. Wouldn’t you know it, in the second chorus the sun did come out, it busted through the window right on cue. It seemed to make an appearance, throw down a smile, and bow back behind the curtain of clouds. Or maybe it was just John fucking with us.
Another customer has arrived. She is a frumpy and stumbling mess. The kind of state that stems from a night too hard lived, riding on fumes. I’ve been there. Hell, I’m there now. But I believe I am wearing it better. She pushes her hand through her hair as she makes call after call on her mobile phone. It’s the nervous tics people can’t control that give them away. Apart from being not far pulling out her blonde hair, her foot taps incessantly. It’s killing me.
The kid behind the counter seems nice. He smiles when he talks to you. It’s not that corporate kind of smile either, a sign of life in a teenage wasteland. He helps the next couple of strangers that have wandered in. I know they are strangers. Regulars walk in assured, ready for that sickly sweet dose of caffeine from there local dealer. Strangers are confused at the door. You can spot them right away. Usually it’s a couple, mid to late fifties, on a date night. They are not familiar with the coffee culture, therefore oblivious to the notion that this culture hates answering questions. We only enjoy asking them. Yes, I’m sure of it, strangers.
The couches always fill up first. It really should be added to the laws of physics. The human gluteus maximus will always naturally gravitate towards the softest seat within the general area. My marveling at my own brilliance is derailed by the sound of The Shins from above me.
Good music has always had a power of me which cannot be explained. In the darkest depths music has lifted me up, made me believe. Music is the one thing that will never die. As long as man has a voice, there will be music.
A woman walks in panting. She is Overweight and sweaty. She collapses on the couch across from me and I wince. I hope she didn’t see that. It was purely autofunctory. I had no control. Maybe it was the thought of a human destroying their body in this fashion that repulses me. Years of bad diet and laziness hang off of her, and the chocolate cake she is ordering isn’t going to cause any changes for the better. I’m too amazed at the total disregard for well being to feel any pity.
My focus turns back to the blonde. She is unraveling. Her phone call becomes too loud for this space and she heads outside to continue a clearly unhappy conversation. She now has the eyes of a victim. I can see them through the window. She’s been done wrong, and in a particularly bad manner it seems.
The fat lady has her cake. So I fight to find a focal point in other directions. There are never any good distractions when you need them, like juggling bears or unicorns. I need a smoke.
I’ve been trying to quit smoking, but it’s so damn difficult. I have laid down some pretty hardcore habits in my life, but smoking won’t let go of me. I can’t decide if it’s the comfort or the nicotine. I remember my first cigarette; I coughed with the first inhalation of the smoke, now I welcome it. Why did I smoke a second one? What made me decide I wanted to harm myself twenty plus times a day? I’m no better that the fat woman. I really should quit, but I’ll need to find a replacement vice… Maybe heroin.
As I return from my cigarette, the obese woman is exiting, just as slowly as she entered. The only remnants of her presence are a plate littered with crumbs, a fork teetering on the edge of it, and the couch cushions still struggling to expand back to form. I revel in my increased personal space.
The blonde has come back in and resumed her position on the couch down the way. She’s calmer now than before. Perhaps with the easiness that comes with closure. I want to tell her that tomorrow is a new day, but is it my place? For now I decide no, and sip from my mug.
Two beautiful brunettes glide gracefully to the counter. The smiling barista takes their order attentively, maybe even more so than he took mine. But then again, I don’t have breast. They take their drinks and leave, returning the ambience to normal once again. It’s funny, I don’t remember what song was playing during the time of their stay. A mans brain is a strange thing.
The blonde collects her things and readies her exit. Her composure has returned, and seems quite sane now. I tried not to make eye contact but sometimes trying just makes it more inevitable. As her hand grasped the door handle it happened, eye to eye. “Tomorrow’s a new day” she said. “Yes it is” I replied, “Yes it is.”