Everyone knows that there’s a lot of two things in Seattle:
We haven’t really had rain yet, even though it’s supposed to start today and last until early next week (the weather alert warned of city flooding only in areas where leaves and other yard waste blocked drains, which I took to mean “clean out your goddamn yards, you lazy hippies”). We have had a lot of coffee already, though, and live just a block away from one of an employed-in-espresso-friend’s favorite places.
Coffee’s been around for long enough and everyone has at least one high end/slow drip/esoteric weirdo place in their town. Also, my first job ever (that I worked for more than a day, because dog grooming was disgusting) was as a barista, so I’ve never really bought into any of the mystique or whatever that makes some people intimidated by coffee places. Um. Except for latte foam art. I do not understand latte foam art.
This place by our house is very good, with a staff that’s not unfriendly, but quiet enough that I don’t have to worry about having to make conversation. It is also, however, located in a neighborhood populated by a lot of rich hippies and young people who don’t seem to do much of anything – yesterday a 20-something guy in a suit got off at my stop and even already I wondered where he thought he was going – so it stands to reason that some of them are going to go to the coffee place, too.
The other day, Courtney texted to say she needed 15 more minutes before picking me up. I replied that I’d go to the coffee place with my extra time, and did she want anything? I walked down to the place and skirted around one dude sitting outside. Everyone seems to know everyone here – maybe they were all in Greenpeace together before quitting en masse because it’s, like, hard – so the dude sitting outside was talking to some passerby he seemed to know, and I wondered how anyone passing by would want to speak to anyone wearing a beret.
Everyone, stop wearing berets. Even you, France. Berets are old timey, pointless affectations that don’t make you look like an artist, a socialist, or someone who doesn’t give a fuck. In fact, you look like you give a lot of fucks, because who a) buys a beret in the first place and b) puts it on, checking themselves in the mirror before leaving the house and thinking “you know what, I look cool.” A beret either tries and fails at hipsterism or transcends it entirely, and I can’t decide which one is worse. But maybe Beret Man can go hang out with The Cowboy and 1975 Tom Waits, both of whom live up the block in some shithole house with bars on all the windows and they are never, ever out of costume.
Once I got inside the coffee place, I waited in line beside some other guy at a table. He had his laptop open but was also talking very loudly on the phone, which seems to me like driving your car to catch the bus. Just…text. IM. Do something that doesn’t involve actually speaking to an invisible person in public. Cripes, I was offered a job yesterday and I didn’t even pick up the first phone call because I was on the bus, and I loathe people who talk on the phone while on the bus (ahem, girl who whined bitterly and at length about her friends refusing to meet up anywhere but downtown).
The guy on the laptop and phone wasn’t talking about anything of any real interest for most of the time, but as I was handed my order, his voice went up an octave and he said “So yeah, I have a great idea for a novel.”
Dude. Could you just. Far be it from me to tell someone else how to write (although talking about how people write is seriously one of my favorite things ever, could we all do it sometime (I am not even joking)?), but can you honestly say that your “process” involves speaking about it very loudly in a public place? And by “speaking” I mean “bragging,” because that’s really what you were doing? I’ll tell you a secret, Novel Man: no one gives a shit about your idea. You can have all the ideas in the world – a lot of people do – but until you make those ideas into something tangible and real and holdable in my hands (or downloadable to my Kindle), they’re not worth a thing. So until then, shut the fuck up and buckle the fuck down, and start writing your idea instead of talking about it on your phone at the coffee place where everyone else just wants to sit and think about ideas of their own.
I couldn’t sit inside the coffee place and listen to Novel Man brag, so I went outside. Texting Courtney to let her know where to find me, I said “I’m on the side street side. A guy with a beret is out front, and I just can’t with that.”