Monday, July 13, 2009

Staying Grounded

Wow...I did absolutely nothing this weekend. No shows, no work, no projects, no obligations. Only socializing and hanging out without the obligation of making other people look good to my own detriment. Must do this more often!

I ran out of coffee Saturday morning, but since I have a shipment of Gevalia that I forgot to bring home from work (that's where I have it sent, since UPS may not leave it at my home if I'm not there), I didn't want to buy a whole pound at the store.

So I did something I haven't done since 2002--went to a coffee house. There is a place that's just around the corner from my house that opened about two years ago, and I'd never been in it before. Can you imagine??

This may not sound so unusual, but I reflected on it this weekend, and I realized just how far towards the dark side that I've strayed. The old "1990s" me would never have allowed a coffee house to go unexplored, especially if it was that close and there were any cute hip guys visible through the windows (this was back when I had no self-awareness and didn't seem to notice that I was neither cute nor hip--oh, how some days I mourn my lost innocence and the getting of wisdom!).

As the years ensued, I realized it was more cost-effective to make my coffee at home, where I can still have a occasional cigarette with it if I want to, and not have to try keeping a straight face when I see the "laptoppers"--those wireless users who don't seem to have access or batteries at home, and only seem able to function in certain public places where literary agents might drop by for a cuppa and peek over their shoulders, marveling at what they've written and offering them a literary contract on the spot. A sort of "That Girl" fantasy for the 21st century. Back in the 1990s, we just read books or locally-produced magazines.

But today, I wanted real coffee, not the instant stuff I had in the cupboard for emergencies, so after I did my grocery shopping at the neighborhood produce market, I stopped in across the street at the cute little corner coffee house that I'd never visited before to get a large cup of strong coffee and a scone. I've never seen cute guys coming in or out of there, but it's always smelled nice the few times I've passed by, so I figured something good must be inside. And I was craving some good joe and a pastry, so in I went.

Oh, the memories that came flooding back to me as I walked in the door! The smell of strong coffee and cinnamon, the intelligent-faced barista in her knit cap and her biodegradable fabrics, the framed pieces by local artists hanging on the walls, the tip jar that they split equally among the artists, and of course, the ubiquitous hipsters on their laptops (the only two people seated in the small room both had one open and were pounding away. This place must have hella-great wireless reception).

As I walked home, with my canvas reusable shopping bags, holding my cup of takeout coffee in its biodegradable-made-of-recycled-materials cup, I beheld the weekend sights I'd so often missed, since I normally walk down Glenwood and not Greenview: the young man in his backwards baseball cap, teaching his puppy to fetch; the husband and wife pushing the designer stroller that carried their future-schoolteacher's-nightmare of an indulged infant; two new condo buildings going up across the street from one another (because apparently, the developers bought the land and got the permits before the housing market tanked, and will only be able to hope now that they can sell the units at cost to out-of-town lawyers who will no doubt rent it for a large monthly profit); the young GUPpies walking home from brunch in groups; the young artistic types with their frizzy hair, earth-tone tanktops and unlaced Chuck Jackson shoes with the tongues flopping out (as though the shoes can't stand their own odor and are gasping for breath), walking their dogs. Yes, of course, the social common denominator of urban hipness: dogs, dogs, dogs. (Because to be socially acceptable, you have to have a dog. People will not talk to you if you do not have a dog, because that must mean that you don't love dogs, and they've all been to see that mediocre movie "Must Love Dogs," and decided that it was more than a clunky chick flick that Diane Lane and John Cusack did because they needed the money--it was a mantra, a way of life.)

And I realized: if only I hadn't become such a bitter and spiteful old man, I could belong!! Yes, I, too, could number myself among these glitterati, the shiny happy people! All I need are an enormous dog that I can scarcely control and a disinterested boyfriend! And I've already had the latter...several times, even!

Hmmmmm...perhaps it's time to revive my dream of becoming "mainstream" again.

Oh, screw that. I'd have to watch "Project Runway." And my life is full enough of egocentric drama queens who can't hold it together. Do I really want to bite THAT capsule every week?

Instant coffee, anyone?

(All kidding aside, I will be back to visit the coffee house--they have good scones! I can always order them "to go.")


Blogger ayem8y said...

What a happy little charming story.

I’ve completed my curmudgeon transformation as well...too late.

6:30 PM  
Blogger Aaron said...

Not to worry--it was little more than an experiment to see if my own juices had "dried up," so to speak.

They have.

9:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're never too old as long as you are still breathing. It sounds like you live in a quaint neighborhood. There is a coffee house not too far from me, it is usually filled with young college boys. Cute, but not my type. I went in once and the pointed haired blond barista said what'll you have old man. I felt so out of place I never went back. ed

10:26 AM  
Blogger ayem8y said...

Young people are so clueless these days and it’s all for the better for when I’m in their presence I’m actually siphoning their youthful essence like a coffeehouse succubus.

10:31 AM  
Blogger Aaron said...

Considering that most of them do their best to look older and unkempt, they probably don't mind being siphoned from--and consider "old man" to be a compliment! The first person who calls me that, however, will WEAR my order and get zero tip.

2:35 PM  

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