I was blown into the coffee shop by an obnoxious wind, a wind that did not care for the lesser people and things on the ground. A wind that I perceived had a personal vendetta against me, given how difficult it was making it for me to open the door. (The wind, in my perception, had not made it so difficult for the folks just in front of me; it was only I, and I alone, for whom the wind blew.)
As the door shut behind me with a veritable slam, I took a deep breath to compose myself. My hair, likely a frightful mess, felt as if it were standing every possible which way that short hair can stand, especially short hair in bad need of a haircut.
On the other hand, my scarf likely looked fantastic as always, it’s starry night sky pattern distracting all the other coffee house denizens from the appearance of a seemingly crazy person (or, conversely, a typical liberal arts student) suddenly bursting in among their well-organized lives of study, writing, and absolutely delightful conversation.
I looked around for a moment, thinking on where to sit. The couch in the back had been claimed and conquered by someone with a far larger laptop, and the table at which I typically sat – one just by the barista’s station’s pick-up counter – was likewise delightfully engaged.
There was an armchair free, but I immediately disregarded this; I need either a place where I can fold and unfold my legs continuously in that rather languid, lazy mode I call “the writer’s ballet”, or a nice, straight, normal chair and table where my feet and legs can comfortably rest for an hour or so at a time.
What’s more, I needed a place close to an outlet, so that my poor, abused Netbook (Netty, for short) would be able to have the power necessary to facilitate whatever mad imaginings I may wish to input into her.
Thus, I chose a tall table and chairs by one of the large windows, knowing that it would likely let in a draft, but not wanting to stand, dumbfounded, in the middle of the small shop any longer than I already had.
I set my things down on the table, slinging the backpack off of me and into one of the chairs. For a moment, I considered whether or not I should set up shop, or whether I should simply leave my valuables at the table while ordering naught but ten feet away.
After a few moments of obvious indecision, I decided to leave the pack but take the purse. (I am quite paranoid about turning around in a coffee shop one day, and seeing that someone has snatched Netty’s travel bag, and has made off of it for a fairly disappointing load.)
It was just then that I remembered the cup I had bought which gives me a full $.10 off of whatever beverage I order here. A full dime, my friends! That can be quite something when most of the drinks you order are no more than a couple of bucks.
I grabbed my cup, waiting patiently for the patrons in front of me to finish. They received their change, and I locked eyes with the young man behind the counter. (For a moment…only a moment, mind you…I wondered how closely he resembled that ancient fictional character I created aeons ago, one whom tortures me still with unbridled irritation. Fortunately, this young man had blue eyes rather than green, and darker hair than was needed for that irritant of my imaginary world.) I put the cup…nay, veritably slammed the cup on the counter (though I did not intend to do it so forcefully), looked him in the eye, and said very plainly what I wanted.
“Full-leaf Zen tea, please.”
A moment later I would ask if I had said Zen tea, and he would confirm that I did indeed.
I waited then at the counter, anticipating a good cup of tea while relaxing with Netty and the ambient, smooth Jazz music that always seemed to be playing through those speakers.
I received my tea, walked to my table, and commenced this plan with nary a further disaster to interrupt the pleasant, public solitude.